The Ontario College Teachers are set to strike this upcoming Monday as OPSEU turned down their third and final offer. With issues such as academic freedom and precarious labour in relation to part-time contract faculty, negotiations with the College Employers Council have come to a halt and faculty members as well as students are left with many unanswered questions.
Local Union President, Darryl Bedford explains how after the third offer was worse than the previous two, there isn’t much hope for reconciliation before Monday’s deadline. “Why they are hiding some of these things in their offer? You know why have they built an offer that’s really a poison pill, with things in it that faculty are not willing to accept.”
In Fanshawe’s 50-year history, there have only been three faculty strikes, and in each of those the academic year has been completed, with no semester lost for students. The College Employers Council, a provincial corporation that is at the bargaining table is “putting forward offers that would make things worse for faculty and students, a step backwards and not willing to engage on the issues that would make a difference.”
While there is hope that this complex issue will be resolved before Monday and students will not miss any classes, Bedford reasons that there has been no progress towards the issues at hand. “I don’t think students understand just how many of their faculty have to constantly sign new contracts, constantly get new work every four months.”
In the event that the teachers at 24 Colleges across the province do strike this Monday, there are a few things to note about crossing the picket line according to Fanshawe officials.
- Consider public transportation, get dropped off, car pool or enter by foot
- Respect the picket line; slow down, be courteous and careful
- Do not attempt a forceful crossing, either personally or in your vehicle
- Expect large groups of people walking, carrying signs, handing out flyers, and speaking to you briefly
- Expect delays – allow for extra time
- Whether walking or driving, accept flyers or brochures and keep conversations pleasant and brief
- If driving, drive slowly. Stop when necessary. You will be allowed to cross
To keep updated on the status of the strike, visit the Fanshawe website.