Striking college faculty to vote on latest offer

Pauline Gross
November 17, 2017

The union representing striking faculty says its members have rejected the latest offer from the College Employers' Council.

The message to the college presidents, the College Employer Council, and Minister Deb Mathews was that faculty are voting NO on the forced contract offer.

OPSEU, which represents college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, said faculty are calling on the council to come back to the table this afternoon and finish the job of negotiating a collective agreement.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has said in a statement that students have been out of the classes for far too long and was to meet with both sides Thursday in an attempt to solve the impasse.

The colleges have said the offer includes a 7.75 per cent salary increase over four years, improved benefits - including extended pregnancy and parental leave, and a $500 increase in coverage for paramedical services - and measures to address concerns regarding part-time faculty.

College faculty have been voting online and by telephone on the final offer, which representatives from the College Employer Council said addressed numerous concerns brought forth by members of the striking faculty and the OPSEU.

"(We) would have loved to have welcomed our faculty back (Thursday and Friday) and got them going next week.

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Cech added: "They've been there in the last few years so now I think they have to make sure they win something to show the progression".

The head of the colleges' bargaining team said it will be looking to the provincially appointed mediator for direction now.

She said if students are pushed back into the classroom they may suffer burn-out and won't get the education they paid for.

Seeing as instructors and the labour board are unaware of how they are going to make up this month of missed class time, students are left waiting to hear about how their future will be affected.

"We're exhausted of waiting but they have to get a fair deal".

She's also hoping the colleges call off the semester.

"We respect the faculty have exercised their democratic right, we like the fact they were able to vote...(but) the strike continues", Webb said.

A proposed class action lawsuit has officially begun as of November 14, 2017, and students are demanding a refund, backed by Charney Lawyers. It seeks full refunds for students who choose not to continue with their programs and refunds "equivalent to the value of the lost instruction" for students who do want to continue.

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