Striking faculty reject colleges' contract offer

Posted November 17, 2017

Betty Sylvain, a St. Clair College student, is anxious about her education as the faculty strike carries on with no end in sight.

If the deal had been accepted, it was expected that students and staff would have been back to classes either Tuesday or Wednesday.

The students, which have been kept out of the classroom since October 16, saw hope for the longest college strike in the province's history ending this week dwindle on Thursday with 86 per cent of the striking educators following the recommendation of their union leadership by opposing the contract.

In the meantime, the provincial government has ordered the colleges to create a fund - using savings from the strike - to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of the strike. Individual colleges have already set preemptive plans in place in the event that faculty would vote in favour of the contract offer, which will no longer be valid.

The almost 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union walked off the job at the province's 24 colleges last month.

According to reports on social media, striking faculty at Ontario's colleges have rejected a final offer.

The union has recommended its members reject the offer.

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The majority of classes in the nursing program function through the Mohawk College, but now with it being on strike most McMaster/college students are left with maybe one course to attend.

"We are looking at all of our options, but I am hopeful that an agreement to return students to class immediately can be reached by the parties". Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews estimated Ontario's 24 colleges have saved about $5 million so far.

When in college, students pay a whack of tuition fees to receive an education, and they are clearly not getting what they paid for. "You have to meet a certain threshold and we're not there".

A proposed class action lawsuit has officially begun as of November 14, 2017, and students are demanding a refund, backed by Charney Lawyers.

Though the student intake has increased from 200 to 600, Foster said the program has the same number of full-time instructors as when she started teaching 27 years ago.

The chair of the colleges' bargaining team said all major issues in the offer have been agreed on by both sides except for language surrounding academic freedom.