Cornwall Hearing, Cornwall, Ontario

Faculty reject colleges offer, strike continues

Nick Seebruch
Faculty reject colleges offer, strike continues
St. Lawrence college faculty members on the picket line outside of the Cornwall campus (Alycia Douglass/ TC Media).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Ontario Labour Relations Board announced on Thursday, Nov. 16 that striking college faculty members have rejected the latest offer from the College Employers Council (CEC).

Talks between the CEC and the union representing college faculty, the Ontario Publuc Service Employers Union  (OPSEU) broke down earlier in November after OPSEU rejected the latest deal and the CEC wanted to go directly to faculty to vote on their offer.

The CEC claims that their offer included measures to address concerns over part-time faculty workers, increased benefits and a pay increase of 7.75 percent.

Voting took place over three days from Nov. 14-16. The vote needed 50 percent plus one to pass.

“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.’

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne addressed the strike when the news of the rejection broke.

“Students have been in the middle of this strike for too long, and its not fair,” she wrote in a statement. “This afternoon I will be meeting with representatives of the CEC and OPSEU to discuss how we can resolve this situation immediately and get students back to class where they belong. We are looking at al of our options, but I am hopeful that an agreement to get students back to class immediately can be reached by the parties.”

The strike is now in its fifth week.

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