Plans in place in case of college strike or lock out
KIRKLAND LAKE - In the event of a strike or lockout at Northern College, President Fred Gibbons says they have made contingency plans.
The campuses would be open for students to study and work on assignments, he said. In terms of how they would make up anytime lost, Gibbons wasn’t specific but did say they have plans for example if a week, two weeks or even a month is lost.
He said it is important to note there has never been a situation where students lost a year because of a college strike or lockout.
Gibbons said the two sides met for most of last week but have since taken a break. At this time it is not known when the two sides will be getting back at the table.
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 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.
Lad Shaba the local President for the faculty union at Northern College said “we are ready to go on strike but we don’t want to.” Sahba said he feels however the employer is looking for a strike. He said it isn’t about money it’s more to do with the fact that 70 per cent of the faculty at Northern are part timers and are not being treated fairly. In his words they are being “exploited”.
He added this is obviously not a good situation for the students so they hope a strike can be averted.
OPSEU represents more than 12,000 professors, instructors, counselors, and librarians in the college system.