Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Striking college faculty to vote on latest offer

Nicola Lau the president of the Seneca Student Federation with international student Eduard Deych. Students at the college are frustrated that the strike is still ongoing Lau said and worried about their semesters College students seeking strike damages
Erik Tate | 17 November, 2017, 01:22

"This is a bad result for the 500,000 student who remain out of class".

The students, which have been kept out of the classroom since October 16, saw hope for the longest college strike in the province's history ending this week dwindle on Thursday with 86 per cent of the striking educators following the recommendation of their union leadership by opposing the contract.

The college has extended the fall semester until Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 or possibly Jan. 23, depending on when the strike ends.

Striking St. Clair faculty along the picket line cheered their membership's 86 per cent vote in favour of turning down the deal.

The almost 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union walked off the job at the province's 24 colleges last month.

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

OPSEU has urged its members to reject the contract.

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This strike has gone on far too long and a resolution must be found that gets our students and faculty back in class.

The strike affects more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges across the province. The Ontario Public Service Employers Union has scheduled a media conference today to discuss the results of the vote.

Local vote results were not immediately available but OPESU Local 613 president Frank Turco said he expects they will reflect the provincial results. "I am extremely disappointed and students are paying the price". "You have to meet a certain threshold and we're not there".

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

He said staff all want to be back in the classroom doing "what we do best", but that members felt some of the concerns still aren't being met.

Charmish Patel, an worldwide student studying aerospace manufacturing, was on campus to try to seek answers about how long the strike might last.

Frustrated at missing so much class time - and anxious about losing the semester, or the costs they'll incur should the school year be extended to make up lost time - students have held a number of protests, and a group of 14 began a class-action lawsuit seeking tuition and fee refunds. Students are seeking refunds for lost instruction time, or full refunds for those students who decide not to continue with their program this year.

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