PEI student caught in limbo of Ontario colleges strike

PEI student caught in limbo of Ontario colleges strike

Striking Ontario college teachers will begin voting today on a contract offer that, if accepted, could send about 500,000 students back to the classroom as early as next Tuesday.

Voting will begin at 9 a.m. this morning via electronic ballot and will end at 10 a.m. on November 16.

"We are launching this site in response to the union's continued misrepresentation of the offer being voted on by faculty", said Sonia Del Missier, the chief negotiator for CEC.

Thomas said college presidents, represented by the College Employer Council, have pursued a cheap labour strategy for decades.

Del Missier said the government has determined that numerous striking faculty members still have many questions. "I'm telling students emphatically they won't", said MaryLynn West-Moynes in an interview Tuesday. In an effort to stem, what the government says, has been a campaign of misinformation by the faculty's union, the Council has set up, "a fact-filled website".

According to the colleges, the offer includes a 7.75 per cent salary increase over a four-year period and improved benefits, such as extended pregnancy and parental leave.

"We've gone through a lot of pain to reach the stage we're at right now". Council could have put that vote forward to us weeks ago, spared faculty, spared students. "We're on the verge of losing our semester".

Kennedy called for more intervention on the part of the government.

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The province has not said whether back-to-work legislation will be considered if the offer is rejected by faculty.

"We're going to do everything we can to stay within the existing workloads".

Students are organizing a rally to take place at all Ontario Colleges on the same days, at the same times each day with the goal of getting student voices heard during the ongoing college strike.

There is some good news for students, as Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Advanced Education Deb Matthews announced that colleges will be asked to establish a dedicated fund used to support students who have experienced financial hardships as a result of the strike.

It's not like we've been away for a month on vacation where you know when the end was going to be there and you'd come back refreshed and ready to hit the ground at a full sprint.

Kennedy said the semester can still be salvaged. "We want to see a quick end to this strike and to get back into the classroom with them as soon as possible". We're not going to invest in more of this mess. "They have to start talking to us about the issues that really matter".

"We're not prepared to accept the return to work conditions either."

In a message to students posted on Conestoga College's website on Monday, administrators confirmed that fall semester classes will be extended until December 22 and will resume on January 2 after the holiday break. The holiday break would last for two weeks from December 23 to Jan.7 and the fall semester would conclude the week of Jan.8 to 12, 2018.

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