Fan­shawe stu­dents plan strike protest

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - LOCAL NEWS - JEN­NIFER BIEMAN POST­MEDIA NEWS

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

MOR­RIS LA­MONT /POST­MEDIA NEWS

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 .

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