Today’s faculty strike updates are disappointing to say the least. Faculty negotiations only resumed last Thursday, with the indication from the College Employer Council (CEC) that a deal could be reached early this week, yet talks have already stopped. Students were hoping to return to the classroom this week and finally resume the education they’ve invested so heavily in. With today’s news, students are still in the dark, with the possibility of losing a semester stronger than ever.
The CEC announced today that they have asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to schedule a faculty vote on their latest offer. In addition to asking the OLRB to schedule a vote, CEC has requested for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) to suspend the strike and allow students and faculty back in the classroom while the vote is being scheduled. If striking faculty vote yes to the latest deal, then the strike is over. If they vote no, then negotiations will resume.
In response to CEC’s offer, OPSEU has publicly stated they do not want the OLRB to intervene, and if the OLRB does intervene, OPSEU will encourage striking faculty to vote NO on the latest offer. OPSEU believes that negotiating should continue at the bargaining table and forcing a faculty vote may keep students out of the classroom even longer. OPSEU has also said they will only suspend the strike if a bargaining team-approved deal can be offered to their membership; this means negotiations must continue this week.
CSA is urging both sides to get back to the negotiating table and come to a resolution immediately. Each day the strike continues, students are closer to losing a semester. Institutions, government, and faculty can no longer avoid answering our questions: At what point is a semester lost, and what happens to students who lose their semester?
CSA spoke with OPSEU and CEC representatives today. OPSEU confirms they’re at the table and ready to continue negotiations. CEC has yet to respond. As always, we will continue to keep students informed as we learn more. We encourage you to stay up to date with notifications from your college. Consistently check your student email and turn on notifications for your college’s social media pages.
Faculty have been on strike since Oct. 16, 2017.
The College Employer Council (CEC) represents colleges and the college administration.
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) represents the faculty on strike.
The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) is an non-partisan government body that mediates different employment and labour relations-related matters.
CSA remains neutral between CEC and OPSEU; our best interest is, and always will be, students.