Fanshawe students plan strike protest
Fanshawe College student Bethany Baglieri put her life on hold to go back to school, only to have her education put on hold by a faculty strike that’s cast her and a half million other students out of class.
“It has not been easy for me to take time away from my family to get an education,” the second-year nursing student said in a Facebook message.
“I am 27-years-old. I am also a mother to an amazing six-year-old boy. He constantly boasts about how his mommy is going to be a nurse.”
But after missing 18 straight days of class, and hours of important practical work, Baglieri is unsure when that day is going to come.
“I was hoping to graduate in 2018 and start my life,” she said.
“I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into my education, and I have been sitting by for four weeks waiting for this strike to end.”
With no end to the strike in sight, Baglieri and her classmate Michelle Wright plan to gather at 1 p.m. Friday at the Cheapside Street entrance and walk around the campus. Since they started the Facebook group Tuesday evening, they’ve attracted more than 250 members and are expecting as many to show up at the demonstration.
Baglieri said the rally isn’t about pointing fingers at the union or colleges, it’s about pushing for some sort of resolution.
“We are taking the side of the students. Not the faculty and not the union,” she said in a Facebook message Wednesday.
“The only ones that are suffering here are the students who are paying for their education, and not getting it. We need a voice too.”
Five days after they returned to talks, hope for a settlement between the College Employer Council and the union that represents the province’s 12,000 striking workers was dashed when the colleges forced a vote on its final offer with members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
The Ontario Labour Relations Board vote, criticized by the union as needlessly prolonging the job action, will be held by electronic ballot between Nov. 14 and 16 — the fifth week of the strike.
But as OPSEU faculty gear up for a vote, college administrators are scrambling to form contingency plans to get students back on track when the strike is done.
Fanshawe has extended the first semester to Dec. 22 from Dec. 15. The college isn’t ruling out pushing firstterm classes into the new year. - The London Free Press
Fanshawe College nursing students Bethany Baglieri, left, and Michelle Wright are organizing a student rally Friday to urge colleges and the union representing faculty to resolve a strike that has kept students out of classes since Oct. 16 .