Fanshawe pickets defiant
No apparent support on local picket line for colleges’ offer, as faculty start to vote
LONDON — From the front lines of a weeks-long strike there still was determination Tuesday, more than four weeks after faculty walked off the job.
On the Fanshawe College picket line on the first day of a two-day vote on the colleges’ final offer, faculty interviewed by The Free Press resoundingly rejected the deal.
The College Employer Council, representing Ontario’s community colleges, triggered the final offer vote after talks broke down last week, bypassing the union bargaining team and taking their proposed deal straight to strikers.
The Ontario Labour Relations Board vote went online at 9 a.m. Tuesday and is running until 10 a.m. Thursday.
A vote for the council’s final offer — tabled Nov. 6 after talks with Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OSPEU) stalled — would end the weeks-long job action at the province’s 24 public colleges.
A vote against the deal would keep faculty on the picket line until an agreement is reached.
The union has urged members to reject the deal, saying it does not do enough to address the academic freedom and precarious work concerns, the two key issues that sent faculty to the picket line.
The strike by 12,000 college instructors, librarians and counsellors has cancelled classes for a half million students provincewide, including tens of thousands in Southwestern Ontario.
It’s about standing up for how people are treated,”
Striker Francesca Ranalli
Striking faculty and supporters picket Tuesday outside Fanshawe College. Weary of the weeks-long strike pickets nonthe-less seem determined to get that for which they walked of the job.