Faculty Talks Resume After Contract Voted Down

Geneva Matthews
November 17, 2017

The strike, which involves 12,000 college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, began October 15 and has left some 500,000 students out of class.

Talks between striking faculty and Ontario's colleges resumed Thursday afternoon, after the two sides met with the premier and post-secondary minister.

"This strike has gone on for too long - and we still need to resolve it and get our students and faculty back in class", wrote Sonia Del Missier, Colleges bargaining team chair. "This was an unnecessary vote".

The vote results were released mind-morning Thursday by the College Employer Council, which bargains on behalf of the colleges.

OPSEU says the vote was a one-time option allowed under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act. "Bargaining will continue", Webb said. "It was close a week ago Sunday night, it's still close". So why not return to the classroom and get back to what they are being paid to do to begin with?

As a next step, the college bargaining team will be in touch with the provincially appointed mediator to seek his direction to the parties.

Students at Algonquin College and La Cite will find out today if they will be heading back to class soon.

From the front lines of a weeks-long strike typified by uncertainty, there was a rare moment of clarity Tuesday, more than four weeks after faculty walked off the job. "I'm available to my students all the time", she said, adding it's often harder for her part-time colleagues to put in face-time with students. "Make no mistake about it".

Seeing as instructors and the labour board are unaware of how they are going to make up this month of missed class time, students are left waiting to hear about how their future will be affected.

Madder said he can hear the clock ticking to save the semester as the labour dispute extends towards the end of the fifth week.

"We are approaching the time where we will start to see people with lost semesters but we are not there yet", she said.

"We're exhausted of waiting but they have to get a fair deal".

"We respect the faculty have exercised their democratic right, we like the fact they were able to vote...(but) the strike continues", Webb said. Advanced Education Matthews has estimated Ontario's 24 colleges have saved about $5 million so far.

The notice of action alleges the colleges breached contracts with students by failing to provide vocational training and a full term of classes.

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