College faculty can strike or be locked out on Oct. 15

Both the faculty union and Ontario colleges say they are committed to reaching a settlement

Students at Ontario colleges could face a faculty strike or lockout as early as Oct. 15, after a conciliator in negotiations with the colleges and the union representing college faculty in Ontario issued a no-board report.

A no-board report sets the earliest date that a legal strike or lockout can start. Under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, the union or employer must give five days notice before a strike or lockout begins. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) requested the no-board report last week.

In a release, JP Hornick, chair of the college faculty bargaining team said the reason for pushing for the no-board was to motivate Ontario colleges to sit down at the table.

“The reason for requesting the no-board report, and thus a legal strike or lockout date, was to encourage our employer to get down to business and work with us at the bargaining table to reach a fair settlement,” said Hornick. “That remains our goal. Our team will do everything in its power to achieve that settlement.”

OPSEU is asking for more full-time positions and the creation of an academic senate, similar those at universities in Ontario.

In a statement earlier this month, Sonia Del Missier, chair of the colleges’ bargaining team, said that OPSEU’s proposals weren’t “the basis for a settlement.”

The College Employer Council, which represents Ontario’s 24 colleges, issued a bargaining update earlier today that said that they are “committed to finding a path to a settlement that is fair to faculty while being affordable and responsible to colleges.”

The colleges have been in talks with the union since July, and have offered a 7.5 per cent pay hike over four years, as well as changes to drug coverage and parental leave.

On Sept. 14, 68 per cent of college faculty voted to strike if a deal can’t be reached with Ontario colleges. The contract between unionized faculty and colleges expires on Sept. 30.

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College faculty can strike or be locked out on Oct. 15