Despite classes being in session for just over a month, Ontario college faculty members have set a confirmed strike deadline, which would put all future classes on hold.
Just last month, it was revealed that the union that represents the faculty at the 24 public colleges had voted in favour of a strike mandate if the upcoming contract discussions failed to result in a new agreement.
And last evening, it was confirmed that the College faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) have set a strike deadline for 12:01 am on October 16 after no contract bargaining agreements have been reached.
“Today was another frustrating day of bargaining, during which our employer once again refused to consider key faculty issues. They have walked away from the table,” said JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team. “The purpose of setting a strike deadline is to get negotiations moving – before it’s too late.”
OPSEU currently represents over 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians working at 24 public colleges across Ontario. Union members include full-time permanent and “partial load” contract faculty who teach seven to 12 hours per week.
“Our union team has been clear about its goals since bargaining began in early July,” Hornick said.
During the bargaining, Hornick said that OPSEU has put forward concrete proposals since July that ask to improve education quality by including the voices of faculty and students in academic decisions, which have gone unheard.
“Unfortunately our 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.”
Mohawk, Humber College, George Brown, Cambrian College are just four of the public colleges that would be taking part in the strike, which would affect more than 220,000 students province-wide if it takes place.