Union Applauds Move to Help College Students

Important Information on the Ongoing Ontario College Strike

Ontario To Help College Students

Money saved by Ontario's 24 community colleges, including St Clair in Windsor and Chatham, as a result of the current labour strike, which has seen some 12,000 faculty on the picket line, will be put into a special fund.

But with the province-wide college strike now stretching into its second month, Loyalist students are becoming increasingly frustrated. We will Vote NO because it will make the colleges stronger, better for students, and better for the next generation.

However, that is contingent on a faculty vote this week on the College Employer Council's final offer.

Faculty is being asked this week to vote on a proposal offered by the colleges last week, but rejected by the union bargaining team.

The offer includes a 7.75 per cent salary increase over four years, improved benefits and several measures to tackle concerns regarding part-time faculty.

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"The thing is, they're looking for answers and there's just so much uncertainty about the strike, and whether or not they will strike a deal", he said.

But the union says the offer contains "serious concessions" that were not agreed to, and which would erode faculty rights and contribute to an unsustainable staffing model. Key issues are wages and job security for contract faculty, as well as more input in academic decisions.

The faculty vote is scheduled to begin Tuesday and end Thursday.

"When we look at how the colleges set up programs and how they continue to ensure programs are relevant, you need the input of your key stakeholders", including employers, industry representatives and graduates, she said. Many students are finding it hard to cope with the financial and mental stress caused by the strike. "And from our perspective, it's not an either/or", she said.

"... They [students] are anxious about how to pay for unexpected costs like additional rent or canceling long-standing travel plans to be home with family", said Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, in a statement.

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