Over 12,000 members from the faculties of 24 public colleges in Ontario announced strike on Monday.
The announcement came following the failure of negotiations between the faculty union and representative group of college managements on Sunday evening.
According to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), the move was inevitable after the “final offer” was put forward to the College Employer Council on Saturday.
The offer, if accepted before the deadline – 12:01 a.m. Monday – was an attempt by the OPSEU to avert the possibility of a faculty strike.
J.P. Hornick, the head of the OPSEU bargaining team, termed the proposal to be a fair deal in settlement for both sides.
The proposal suggested that the College Employer Council match the number of faculty members serving full-time to the contractual number of faculty members Hornick’s disappointment was evident when in a Sunday evening press release he stated,
“Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom…This leaves us with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.”
The College Employer Council on the other hand issued a public statement that termed the impending faculty strike as “completely unnecessary.”
The union said that the entire scheme was unfair on the students. In an attempt to resolve the strike issue in a quick and easy settlement, the College Employer Council suggested that the OPSEU accepts the final offer made to it by the colleges or put it up for members’ vote.
According to the statement by the College Employer Council, accepting the proposal set forth by the OPSEU will add over CAD 250 million to the colleges’ annual costs.
These increased costs will only further eliminate the thousands of contractual faculty jobs which will eventually result in “jeopardizing the quality of college programs.”
The College Employer Council estimates there will be more than 500,000 students affected by the strike.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.