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Legal strike or lockout date set for October 15 in college faculty talks

OPSEU College Faculty - collegefaculty.org

Toronto – The conciliator in contract negotiations between Ontario’s public colleges and their unionized faculty has confirmed October 15 at 12:01 a.m. as the time a legal strike or lockout could begin at all 24 public colleges in the province.

The conciliator issued the date after faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) requested a “no-board” report last week.

“The reason for requesting the no-board report, and thus a legal strike or lockout date, was to encourage our employer to get down to business and work with us at the bargaining table to reach a fair settlement,” said JP Hornick, chair of the union’s college faculty bargaining team. “That remains our goal. Our team will do everything in its power to achieve that settlement.”

Under the rules set out in the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, the union is required to give five days’ notice prior to going on strike, and the College Employer Council must give five days’ notice of a lockout. This means an actual strike or lockout deadline could come after October 15.

Key issues in this round of bargaining relate to education quality and the ongoing exploitation of contract faculty.

“Half a million students come to college to get the education they need for the job they want and the labour market demands,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “It is hypocritical of the colleges, who promise students a good job and a bright future, to turn around and force thousands of contract staff into jobs with low pay, no benefits, and no job security of any kind.”

OPSEU represents more than 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians in the college system.

For more information: JP Hornick, 416-806-9526; Mona Chevalier, OPSEU college faculty bargaining team (French only) 613-606-2238