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Sunday October 15th, 2017

Posted at 8:58pm

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Last updated: Monday October 16th, 10:47am

Professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians will be on the picket line Monday at St. Clair College and 23 other Ontario colleges after talks between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council failed to produce a tentative collective agreement Sunday.

“On October 14, we presented Council with a streamlined offer that represented what faculty consider to be the bare minimum we need to ensure quality education for students and treat contract faculty fairly,” said JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team. “We carefully crafted a proposal that responded to Council’s concerns about costs in a fair and reasonable way.

“Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,” she said. “This leaves us with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.”

Hornick said Council is committed to a “Walmart model of education” based on reducing the role of full-time faculty and exploiting underpaid contract workers who have no job security beyond one semester.

Meanwhile, the colleges say that they cannot accept the union’s demands that would ultimately add more than $250 million to annual costs, eliminate thousands of contract faculty jobs, and jeopardize the quality of college programs.

“This strike is completely unnecessary and unfair to hundreds of thousands of students. We should have had a deal based on our final offer. It is comparable to, or better than, recent public‐sector settlements with teachers, college support staff, hospital professionals, and Ontario public servants – most of which were negotiated by OPSEU,” said Sonia Del Missier. “The fastest way to resolve the strike is for the union to accept the colleges’ final offer, or, at the very least, put the colleges’ final offer forward to its members for a vote.”

The college has set up an information page here.

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