College faculty reject offer, strike continues

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The college has extended the fall semester until Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 or possibly Jan. 23, depending on when the strike ends. The voter turnout was substantial, as a sizeable 86 per cent of faculty voted to reject Council's November 6 offer.

"This strike has gone on for too long - and we still need to resolve it and get our students and faculty back in class", wrote Sonia Del Missier, Colleges bargaining team chair.

Last week, the Ontario Colleges announced plans to create a fund to help students experiencing financial difficulty stemming from the strike, but there is no information about applications or how to qualify.

OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the forced vote was a "bully move" by the colleges.

OPSEU say they are calling on the College Employer Council to come back to the table this afternoon and "finish the job of negotiating a collective agreement".

Faculty from 24 Ontario colleges voted both online and by telephone on the final offer that if accepted, would have effectively ended the strike.

The head of the colleges' bargaining team said it will be looking to the provincially appointed mediator for direction now.

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The strike, which involves 12,000 college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, began October 15 and has left some 500,000 students out of class.

If the deal was accepted, students and staff would have been back in class as soon as next Tuesday.

Seeing as instructors and the labour board are unaware of how they are going to make up this month of missed class time, students are left waiting to hear about how their future will be affected. The Ontario Public Service Employers Union has scheduled a media conference today to discuss the results of the vote.

He said he wouldn't speculate what the Premier will do but he's hopeful pressure will be put on the college council.

While none of this will likely satisfy anxious students, those concerned about the financial impact of the strike might be happy to be reminded that the province is creating something of a "hardship fund" for students adversely affected by the disruption.

Some students in Ontario have raised the possibility of a class action lawsuit against the Colleges, wanting at least a partial refund of tuition, while others have mused about quitting college, feeling their semester and school year is lost.

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