College faculty vote resounding no to latest offer

Katrina Barker
November 17, 2017

Last week, the Ontario Colleges announced plans to create a fund to help students experiencing financial difficulty stemming from the strike, but there is no information about applications or how to qualify.

If faculty members accept the contract offer, students could be back in class as early as Tuesday.

The faculty of Ontario's 24 colleges including Fanshawe and Conestoga have rejected the settlement from colleges, extending the strike at least another week.

Students protesting the ongoing faculty strike at St. Clair College in hopes of saving their semesters had some harsh words for their teachers after the employees voted against a deal Thursday.

In order for the offer to be approved by OPSEU members, it must receive a yes vote of 50 per cent plus one vote.

According to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 95% of eligible members cast ballots in a vote that saw 86% vote against the offer.

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

The strike, which involves college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, began October 15 and has left some 500,000 students out of class.

Confederation College president Jim Madder said he is disappointed for the students that the offer was turned down.

She says she is looking at all options, but she is hopeful the parties can reach an agreement.

Matthews said the process of the vote must unfold, and back-to-work legislation is not yet on the table. We've also asked students to be prepared to return on January 2, although right now, we're not certain that will be required.

While none of this will likely satisfy anxious students, those concerned about the financial impact of the strike might be happy to be reminded that the province is creating something of a "hardship fund" for students adversely affected by the disruption. "We need to work out the details together and we will do it quickly", Matthews said in a media statement.

Meanwhile, students have filed a class action lawsuit alleging the colleges breached contracts with students by failing to provide vocational training and a full term of classes. 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.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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