Loyalist students frustrated as college strike stretches into fifth week

Algonquin College strike action

Important Information on the Ongoing Ontario College Strike

About 12,000 college faculty members have been off the job since October 15 after contract talks broke off between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents striking staff, and the College Employer Council, which represents Ontario's 24 colleges.

Now, as their teachers represented by Ontario Public Service Employees Union enter the fifth week on picket lines, "that anxiety, that nervousness" students are feeling "has only been growing", said Ryan Huckla, president of Niagara College's student administrative council.

Ontario's 12,000 striking college faculty members are preparing to vote Tuesday on the latest offer that could end a five-week-long strike.

College students were already starting to worrying after losing a few weeks of time in the classroom.

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OPSEU members are set to vote over the next three days on the final offer put forward by the Colleges before talks stalled last week. I have just spoken with student leadership from the College Student Alliance and have asked them for their advice and for feedback from their membership.

"We're a body of 1,000 students", Eckenswiler says.

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.

"Students from every campus in Ontario will be filling the hallways and classes of Ontario colleges, to show to everyone, we are ready to learn", the organization says in an email sent to media outlets.

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From his perspective, he noted that if, "the minister can tell the colleges how to spend the money they've saved, she can tell them how to bargain fairly as well".

But the union said the offer contains "serious concessions" that were not agreed to, and which would erode faculty rights and contribute to an unsustainable staffing model.

The offer includes a 7.75 per cent salary increase over four years, improved benefits and several measures to tackle concerns regarding part-time faculty.

The faculty vote is scheduled to begin Tuesday and end Thursday.

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