Premier Dalton McGuinty is encouraging both sides to work together to avoid a strike at Ontario’s two dozen community colleges that would affect at least 500,000 students. College instructors will vote Wednesday on whether to give their union a strike mandate. The premier said Tuesday he is encouraging both sides to do whatever they can to come together to work out their differences in a way that doesn’t involve any disruption of learning.
Ted Montgomery, chairman of the union bargaining team for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union which represents 9,000 faculty members, says if they do vote in favour of a strike, a walkout wouldn’t happen for at least a month. He says talks with the colleges broke down Dec. 15 and the key issues are workload, academic freedom and management’s decision in November to impose its offer on the teachers without letting them vote on it.
The union is seeking a 2.5 per cent pay increase in each year of a three-year contract while the colleges are offering 1.75 per cent in each of the first two years and two per cent in the last two years of a four-year deal.
The Canadian Press
For Maclean’s On Campus’ coverage of the looming strike, please click here