College union goes on strike

Nick Seebruch
College union goes on strike
St. Lawrence College Logo.

ONTARIO, Canada – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents college faculty members voted on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 15 to go on strike.

The strike means that all full-time college classes are cancelled at colleges across the province of Ontario, including at St. Lawrence College’s Cornwall campus which has approximately 1, 300 students.

The picketing will start on Monday, this comes after OPSEU claims that the employer, the College Employer Council, rejected their final offer.

“On Oct. 14, we presented Council with a streamlined offer that represented what faculty consider to be the bare minimum we need to ensure quality education for students and treat contract faculty fairly,” said JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team. “We carefully crafted a proposal that responded to Council’s concerns about costs in a fair and reasonable way.”

“Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,” she continued. “This leaves us with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.”

OPSEU had previously rejected an offer from the College Employer Council which included, amongst other things a 7.75 percent salary increase.

OPSEU has said that they hope to return to the negotiating table quickly to find a resolution. If that is not the case, the union says that it has $75 million in their strike fund.

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