Economy

Province Launches College Strike Website

Province Launches College Strike Website”

A vote that could end Ontario's five-week long college strike will start this morning.

"We are striking for really the greater issues to do with the fact that the vast majority faculty teaching in the system are working on... short-term, underpaid contracts", Kennedy said.

MacKenzie, along with hundreds of other students, joined faculty and staff at Sheridan College's Trafalgar campus Monday to rally for fair wages and employment security for faculty members.

Twelve-thousand college professors, instructors, councillors and librarians have been on strike since October 15, affecting around half a million students across the province. "And from our perspective, it's not an either/or", she said.

The student movement wants the strike suspended immediately and classes to resume November 19, and suggests binding arbitration to settle unresolved issues between the two sides locked in a labour dispute.

The college has not said it will reimburse students for tuition, only that it will make up the lost class time, Mackenzie added.

"There's no indication they want to step in", he said.

Cambrian College is making similar plans, with first semester exams now scheduled for early January and the second semester to begin on Jan. 22.

"That's affected people's Christmas plans and people's flights, which has been a mess", Mackenzie said.

"I'm not going to pre-empt a vote that needs to take into account the position of all of the members", Premier Kathleen Wynne said last week.

"I would say there is no way of operating a system where nearly three quarters of the people who are working in it are doing it on short-term contracts".

"It's our education and it's our past year here for some of us and it's disappointing".

"My guess is that this is going to be a strong "No" vote", said Liz Matheson, president of OPSEU Local 352 at Fleming. Voting remains open until 10 a.m. Thursday.

"We are launching this site in response to the union's continued misrepresentation of the offer being voted on by faculty", said Sonia Del Missier, the chief negotiator for CEC.

"The thing is, they're looking for answers and there's just so much uncertainty about the strike, and whether or not they will strike a deal", he said.

The first three weeks of the strike went by with nearly no negotiation between the two organizations, he said.

While Huckla and students from across the province are hoping the votes this week will end the strike, he said they remain concerned about salvaging the remnants of the semester.

Kennedy said he has been picketing every day and has witnessed tremendous support from students.

"There needs to be more increased pressure by the government on council to get back to the table", Kennedy said.



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