Ontario college staff on strike

Students want to be reimbursed if college workers strike

"Unfortunately, council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom", JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team, said in a statement. That offer had three proposals to improve education quality for students and treat faculty fairly: a 50:50 ratio of full-time to contract faculty, which now sits at over 70% contract faculty; increased job security for partial-load faculty, who now work on one-semester contracts; and academic freedom to give faculty a stronger voice in academic decision-making.

OPSEU contends the College Employer Council failed to produce a tentative collective agreement. The province-wide action includes Confederation College and its campuses in Kenora and Red Lake.

Expect picket lines at all entrances to our campuses beginning tomorrow morning and be prepared for delays to allow faculty to share information.

Faculty at 24 Ontario colleges went on strike late Sunday, affecting more than 500,000 students.

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All classes at Confederation have been cancelled for the duration of the strike, although the campus remains open and some services - including the student union, child and family centre and wellness centre - continue to operate. "We just wanted to try and affect the change".

Wales said having to maintain set ratios between full- and part-time instructors would hamper the school's ability to offer more niche programs, notably those requiring specialized professional instructors who might not be willing to take on a full-time position.

"It's just really unfair", he said.

"Whether a student is in their first semester or their last, they're going to feel the severity of this strike".

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"I'm a little anxious", he said. Part-time faculty are only paid for their in-class time, not for any office time outside of that. "I have a summer job lined up, so I'm anxious I will not be able to go to that".

The CEC, in a public statement, has calculated the cost of the union's proposals at more than $400 million annually.

The final offer would increase salaries by 7.75% over four years, raising new full-time faculty maximum to $115,378, increase a new partial-load hourly maximum of $154.26, improve conversion of contract faculty to full-time positions, and provide more faculty autonomy over personal workloads along with enhanced benefits.

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