File photo of school desks courtesy of Alvimann via morgueFileFile photo of school desks courtesy of Alvimann via morgueFile

Colleges Reject Faculty Union Offer, Strike Monday

Faculty at Ontario's 24 public colleges are on strike.

The Ontario Public Services Employee Union announced Sunday evening that the College Employer Council, made up of representatives from the colleges, rejected the union's final offer.

12,000 faculty members will walk picket lines Monday.

The union had tabled a last-ditch offer Saturday in an effort to avert a strike, according to J.P. Hornick, chair of the union's bargaining team.

“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,” Hornick says in a statement Sunday night. “We carefully crafted a proposal that responded to council’s concerns about costs in a fair and reasonable way."

In the same release, OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas calls the current impasse “regrettable” but says college faculty have the full backing of the union’s 130,000 members and their $72 million strike fund.

The College Employer Council says that the union's demands would only increase costs by $250 million per year, force colleges to lay off faculty and jeopardize the quality of college programs.

“This strike is completely unnecessary and unfair to hundreds of thousands of students," says college bargaining team chair Sonia Del Missier in a statement. "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. 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.”

St. Clair College, Fanshawe College, Lambton College, College Boreal, Georgian College and all colleges across the province will not hold scheduled classes.   The individual colleges have their own contingency plans while the strike is in progress.

Keep following for continued updates on this developing story.

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