Ontario College Strike Continues As Faculty Unanimously Votes "No" To Offer

Ontario College Strike Continues As Faculty Unanimously Votes

"We are still concerned about our students and we miss them dearly", Turco said in an interview with The Sault Star.

The colleges' bargaining agent has says there simply isn't enough money in the system to do that.

This protest happened before the provincial government announced, late Thursday, that it was introducing back-to-work legislation.

Some 500,000 students have been out of class since October 16 when instructors, counsellors and librarians at Ontario's 24 public colleges walked off the job. "That is why I am requiring that colleges establish a dedicated fund with all the savings from the strike". If it is again blocked, they say they intend to sit through the weekend. "This bill is not a solution to the problems that exist now", she said, adding that it "leaves a broken system in place".

Bill 178, which puts an end to the five-week-old job action by college instructors and mandates binding mediation-arbitration, was approved 37-18.

If the deal was accepted, students and staff would have been back in class as soon as next Tuesday.

Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews the government is looking at a "range of options" to get students back into the classroom.

"We could have done it in 10 minutes and then students would know they're back in the classroom on Monday", she said about the New Democrats' move Thursday.

"We are very disappointed that the parties were not able to resolve this contract dispute", said Matthews.

The bill cleared another hurdle on Saturday while the Liberals and New Democrats pointed fingers at each other over how the legislation has been handled.

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"In terms of 'back-to-work legislation, ' it's certainly not how (some) students and faculty wanted the strike to end, since nothing will have changed and five weeks of time has been wasted", she said.

"From my perspective, if they do that, the labour movement has to oppose that", said Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) had recommended its members reject the offer.

The colleges said their offer included a 7.75-per-cent salary increase over four years, improved benefits and measures to address concerns regarding part-time faculty.

But the union says the offer contained "serious concessions" that were not agreed to, which would erode faculty rights and contribute to an unsustainable staffing model.

In one of the three previous college faculty strikes, the government passed back-to-work legislation and appointed an arbitrator to look at key issues.

The results were revealed on Thursday after the CEC, which bargains on behalf of the colleges, tabled their final offer last week. "They have to focus on students".

Lavoie said she was also anxious about how her course material can be condensed to finish the semester. We ask that all parties in the legislature think of students first and support its speedy passage. "They're understandably anxious about how they will make up the lost time as colleges release back-to-school plans that include extending the semester right up to Christmas".

"It is the right thing to do for students", Brown said.

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