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College faculty to resume talks with employer

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Toronto – With some 16,000 college faculty set to go on strike at 12:01 Friday morning, the College Employer Council (CEC) and the faculty bargaining team have agreed to meet Thursday.

“We were encouraged that the CEC replied to our letter and have agreed to meet tomorrow,” said College Faculty Bargaining Team Chair JP Hornick.

“Faculty rejected the CEC’s forced offer in February but extended an olive branch by agreeing to go to binding arbitration to settle outstanding issues without labour disruption,” Hornick added. “The CEC has refused until now, but if real progress is being made at the table, faculty are open to extending the strike deadline.”

Faculty have been without a collective agreement since September 30, 2021, and have been on an escalating work-to-rule strike since December. A full withdrawal of labour would affect some 250,000 Ontario college students.

“A strike is always the option of last resort,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “As long as the parties are talking, there’s hope an agreement can be reached at the bargaining table.

“It’s great news that the two sides are going to meet again – for faculty, for the employer and, most of all, for the students,” he added.

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said he was cautiously optimistic by the agreement to meet.

“I’ve said all along that the parties aren’t that far apart and that a settlement can be reached at the table. I’m pleased to see talks resuming and hope we can reach a deal.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; JP Hornick, 416 806-9526; OPSEUCommunications@opseu.org