Ontario tables legislation to force college profs back to work

Ontario tables legislation to force college profs back to work

Ontario's striking college faculty voted to reject a contract offer and continue their almost five-week job action.

Talks between the colleges and the union broke down on November 4, prompting a request for the final offer vote.

Striking faculty members have just rejected the final offer from the College Employer Council after a lengthy vote.

OPSEU had called on its membership to reject the offer, stating that the offer did not appropriately address two of the major issues that membership were concerned about: academic freedom for faculty and "precarious work", meaning the increase in part-time, partial-load, contract faculty positions.

The 12,000 college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians have been off the job since October 15, leaving some 500,000 students out of class. Colleges suspended classes for about 500,000 students across the province with no end in sight.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's office said Thursday her government will table legislation that will end the province's college strike, after negotiations reached an impasse.

"All the college seems to do is say to us that no one has ever lost a semester and they're not about to start now", said Lee Willis, a practical nursing student in his final year.

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Turco said he hopes the college council recognizes the strong no vote and returns to the bargaining table to remove concessions and bargain fairly.

Del Missier said the bargaining team will be in touch with the provincially appointed mediator today to seek direction. "I completely sympathize with our students who have been caught in this strike for more than four weeks".

"(We) would have loved to have welcomed our faculty back (Thursday and Friday) and got them going next week. But most of the details depend on how long the strike lasts.

The CEC asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote on the offer it has put on the table.

Charmish Patel, an global student studying aerospace manufacturing, was on campus to try to seek answers about how long the strike might last.

Aryaman Choudhary sat behind his student residence building across from Conestoga College's Doon campus and tried to light a cigarette with winds swirling around him.

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