KAWARTHA LAKES- Teachers at 24 colleges across the province are on strike, effecting approximately 500,000 students.
The Ontario Public Services Employees Union says the two sides couldn’t resolve their differences by a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Monday.“On October 14, we presented Council with a streamlined offer that represented what faculty consider to be the bare minimum we need to ensure quality education for students and treat contract faculty fairly,” said JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team. “We carefully crafted a proposal that responded to Council’s concerns about costs in a fair and reasonable way.
The College Employer Council, who bargains for the colleges, called the strike completely unnecessary.The union’s demands would have added more than $250 million in annual costs, the council said.
But the union says the council would not even agree to things that wouldn’t cost any money. “Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,” she said. “This leaves us with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.”
The strike involves some 5,800 full time and 10,000 part time students at Fleming College in Lindsay and Peterborough. All face-to-face classes and counselling services at all campuses have suspended for the duration of the strike. This includes full-time programs, Continuing Education courses and dual credit courses according to the college.
College buildings and residences remain open. Picket lines will be up at the main entrances to the Sutherland and Frost campuses according to the college.
The union presented a proposal Saturday night that called for the number of full time faculty to match the number of faculty members on contract and for improvements in job security and for faculty to have a stronger voice in academic decision making.
The strike involves more than 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians.