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HomeNewsCollege faculty legislated back to work

College faculty legislated back to work

KAWARTHA LAKES-The Province passed legislation on Sunday ending the five week old college faculty strike.

“Students were in the middle of the strike for too long. We needed to put students first, and get them back to their studies. This legislation ensures students can get back to the classroom and refocus on their education.” said Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government

The strike by approximately 12,225 faculty including professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians, began on October 16, 2017 and affected all 24 colleges in Ontario including Fleming College in Lindsay.

“The college faculty strike, which the Liberal government has just ended with legislation, put the problems of low-wage contract workers front and centre on the public agenda,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said Sunday. “It was a battle for precarious workers today and for every future worker, in college or out, who dreams of having a good job and the good life it affords.

Thomas blamed the Province for dragging out the dispute. “If Premier Kathleen Wynne had been proactive on this file she would have ordered the colleges to move weeks ago to end the cheap labour strategy that is short-changing faculty and students alike,” he said. “Instead, she let the colleges thumb their noses at students, faculty, collective bargaining, and even her own government.”

But the Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn said “Our government respects and believes in the collective bargaining process. It is only in special circumstances that government intervention should occur. Through all of this, our focus has been on students and their learning. We want to see students back in the classroom as quickly as possible so that they can continue their education while an agreement is reached.”

“Those who think the Liberals are pro-worker because of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, should remember that it was not only labour and community activism that made the Liberals introduce it,” he said. said Thomas,

In voting on the final offer from the college Council last week, 86 per cent of faculty voted to reject Council’s November 6 offer. Ninety-five per cent of the 12,841 people on the voters’ list voted.

“No one is surprised that college faculty rejected the Council’s forced offer. It was full of concessions and failed to address our concerns around fairness for faculty or education quality,” said JP Hornick, chair of the faculty bargaining team for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). “We stand with hundreds of thousands of college students when we say ‘enough already.’

All outstanding issues have been eferred to binding mediation-arbitration. The College Employer Council and OPSEU have five days to agree on a mediator-arbitrator, or one will be appointed by the Minister of Labour.

The government has also instructed colleges to establish a dedicated fund with net savings from the strike. The fund will be used to support students who have experienced financial hardships as a result of the strike, and its parameters will be developed in direct consultation with students. Although how they plan to do that has not been announced. Students could be back in the classroom by Tuesday.

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Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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