Settlement of faculty strike could be reached ‘quickly’—if colleges ready to discuss proposals, says union

Colleges and faculty union to resume bargaining on Thursday, Nov. 2, the first time since strike began on Oct. 16

Updated at 4:40 p.m. with new comment from faculty union

The bargaining teams representing Ontario colleges and striking faculty will return to the bargaining table tomorrow, the first time since a unionized faculty strike began on Oct. 16.

In a statement, chair of the colleges’ bargaining team, Sonia Del Missier said, “this strike has gone on for too long. We need to end the strike and get our students and faculty back in the classroom.”

The Ministry of Labour mediator called the two sides back to the bargaining table for Thursday, Nov. 2.

College Employer Council spokesperson David Scott said that the colleges’ expectation is that there will be a quick resolution when talks continue.

“We wanted this settled in the summer, we thought we had a good offer which unfortunately the union rejected,” he said. “We never wanted a strike to occur and now that the strike has occurred it’s gone on long enough and we want to get this resolved.”

The union’s last offer included demands that there be a 50-50 ratio of full-time to part-time faculty, better job security for partial-load faculty and academic freedom.

The College Employer Council’s last offer included a 7.75 per cent raise over four years, new salary caps for faculty, as well as “improved conversion of contract faculty to full-time positions, a plan to respond to Bill 148 when it becomes law, more faculty autonomy over personal workloads (and) enhanced benefits.”

“College faculty are taking a stand for a better college education system, ” said JP Hornick, bargaining team chair in a statement. “Since July we have been ready to bargain a fair contract that addresses the issues of fairness for all faculty and quality education. If council is finally ready to discuss faculty’s proposals then we can reach a settlement quickly.”

Over 300,000 college students across Ontario have been impacted by the strike, particularly apprenticeship students who are on short eight-to-10-week courses.  

Deb Matthews, minister of advanced education and skills development, said that she was pleased that bargaining was resuming. 

Joel Willet, president of the CSA, wrote on Twitter that he wants the two sides to remain at the bargaining table and reach a settlement. 

The college faculty union is still planning to hold a rally in front of the Ontario legislature at Queens Park on Thursday, Nov. 2 at noon

George Brown College has said on their website if a settlement is reached, there will be two business days’ notice before classes resume.

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Settlement of faculty strike could be reached ‘quickly’—if colleges ready to discuss proposals, says union