CORNWALL, Ontario – St. Lawrence College President Glenn Vollebregt issued a 48 hour notice to students for the resumption of classes on Friday, Nov. 17.
“As most of you know, there will be a resolution shortly,” he said in a written statement on the St. Lawrence College website. “The government is taking steps to end the strike. My hope is that it will be settled over the weekend however none of us can know that for certain. Regardless of the exact date, please consider this note as your minimum 48-hour notice and begin planning to return to class early next week. You will receive the exact return date as soon as I know.”
Vollebregt went on to promise that he would save students’ semesters and that their outstanding assignments would not be due on their first day back.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal Government had tabled back to work legislation to end the five week strike between the College Employers Council (CEC) and the union representing college faculty workers, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
The CEC had previously by-passed the union and submitted a deal directly to college faculty workers for a vote, which was rejected by a margin of 86 percent. The CEC and OPSEU then resumed talks on Thursday, Nov. 16, but those talks broke down a few hours later and with both sides refusing binding arbitration, Premier Wynne stepped in with the back to work legislation.
The Premier had hoped to pass the legislation by Thursday night, but that failed due to lack of support from the NDP. The NDP then refused to consent to their support on Friday. The Ontario Provincial Parliament will now be sitting into Saturday to pass the back to work bill.