emfizz.com November 24, 2017

College Vote Begins Today

15 November 2017, 12:52 | Terri Saunders

Important Information on the Ongoing Ontario College Strike

A barrel burns as striking faculty walk the picket lines at Fanshawe College's front entrance on Nov. 1 2017

The Liberals went way out of their way to ensure that their 2018 re-election bid wouldn't be hindered by the one thing they fear most: a teachers' strike.

Ontario colleges launched a new website today - collegevote.ca - to provide information for the 12,000 faculty, who will be voting on the colleges' offer, this week.

The Ontario college strike, which has gone on for several weeks now, has left many students wondering what their academic year-when it ultimately reconvenes-will look like. "I will work with students and colleges very quickly to develop the parameters of the fund to ensure funding reaches students as soon as possible".

Huckla is eager to hear the results of the vote.

Ward said a computer at the union's strike headquarters has been set up for any members to come in and vote. Having said that, our faculty are absolutely critical in terms of making it happen so we need to consult with them to make sure everything will occur.

While Huckla and students from across the province are hoping the votes this week will end the strike, he said they remain concerned about salvaging the remnants of the semester.

She said in addition to lost class time, the strike is costing students money in the form of lost tuition.

"They're saying that they're going to make up for that instruction, but adding one week to make up for five missed weeks of instruction is not going to cut it", Mackenzie said. "It's not fair to them".

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Huckla, however, said Niagara College administrators seem to be listening to the concerns related by the student union, while also keeping them informed about the process going on.

Now in uncharted territory, the President and CEO of Georgian College insists students won't lose their semester. "This event is aimed at delivering the message that politics should not stand in the way of our future".

"There needs to be more increased pressure by the government on council to get back to the table", Kennedy said.

If faculty vote no, plans for semester completion will be regularly revised, depending on how long the strike continues.

"We are launching this site in response to the union's continued misrepresentation of the offer being voted on by faculty", said Sonia Del Missier, the chief negotiator for CEC. "All I can say is this isn't true". Other topics include salaries and benefits, what happens when the teachers return, the staffing ratios, and the meaning of a yes or no vote by the teachers.

Voting on the offer opened on Tuesday - with the faculty members voting either online or by telephone - and is scheduled to continue until Thursday.

The union said the offer allows colleges to expand contract faculty without restriction, while avoiding paying equal pay for equal work, decreases full-time jobs, and does nothing to recognize the need for academic freedom for teachers.

Del Missier said the government has determined that numerous striking faculty members still have many questions.

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