Striking Ontario college faculty reject offer, bargaining talks resume

Striking Ontario college faculty reject offer, bargaining talks resume

Striking Ontario college faculty reject offer, bargaining talks resume

"Ontario college faculty have exercised their democratic right and by rejecting the offer have chosen to continue to strike", Sonia Del Missier, chair of the colleges' bargaining team, said in a media release.

As faculty at Ontario's 24 strike-shuttered colleges vote on a final offer that could end the weeks-long job action, a potential class action lawsuit was launched on behalf of students.

The electronic vote began Tuesday morning and will wrap up Thursday at 10 a.m.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), on November 7, ordered a faculty vote to be held from 9 a.m. Tuesday through 10 a.m. Thursday as the strike by OPSEU-represented faculty wore on.

The offer was rejected by 86 per cent of the exceptionally high turnout of 95 per cent of the membership, reports indicate.

"That's an unheard of result, when you see that many people voted", said Lana-Lee Hardacre, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 237 representing 784 Conestoga faculty.

Some 12,000 college professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians walked off the job October 16, leaving more than a half million students out of class.

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It's been a rough few weeks for students and college professors in Ontario, Canada's most populous province.

She said if students are pushed back into the classroom they may suffer burn-out and won't get the education they paid for.

The union has pushed members to reject the deal, saying it does not do enough to address the academic freedom and precarious work concerns - the two key issues that sent faculty to the picket line. "This is a bad result for the 500,000 student who remain out of class".

The two sides in the dispute resumed negotiations Thursday afternoon at the request of Premier Kathleen Wynne. Several colleges and contractors such as for food services and maintenance have laid off other workers due to the ongoing strike.

Matthews said the process of the vote must unfold, and back-to-work legislation is not yet on the table.

"Given the length of the strike, we've advised students that the holiday break will run from the end of the day December 22, 2017 up to and including Wednesday".

"The college bargaining team will be in touch with the provincially appointed mediator to seek his direction to the parties". Students are seeking refunds for lost instruction time, or full refunds for those students who decide not to continue with their program this year.

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