Union representing faculty at Ontario's 24 public colleges sets Oct. 16 as strike deadline
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 10:22AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 11, 2017 10:13PM EDT
The union representing faculty at Ontario's 24 public colleges, including St. Clair College, could be on strike on Monday.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 16 after the College Employer Council walked away from the bargaining table.
A strike would lead to a walkout of more than 12,000 employees in the college system, including more than 300 staff at St. Clair College.
Vice President of Communications at St. Clair, John Fairley, is hoping for a resolution.
If there is a strike, all classes would be cancelled. But Fairley says the school will remain open for students to use different facilities and computer labs.
There are more than 10,000 students who would be affected by a walkout.
Many students say they do not want a strike, and they are worried about losing time in the classroom.
According to Ryan Peebles, the general manager of the student council at St. Clair, the strike vote at the local college was over 80 per cent support. That compares to 68 per cent when you factor all Ontario colleges.
J.P. Hornick, the chairman of the OPSEU bargaining team, says the employer again refused to consider key issues in the ongoing dispute.
He says the goal of setting a strike deadline "is to get negotiations moving before it's too late."
However, the council says it did not walk away from the table.
OPSEU has said the key issues include giving faculty and students more of a voice in academic decisions and what it calls the "ongoing exploitation of contract faculty."
Hornick says the employer "is not moving forward on the issues faculty care about most -- even in the case of no-cost items like academic freedom or longer contracts for contract faculty."
(with files from the Canadian Press)