GBC professors on the strike ending
When the college faculty strike was forced to an end by the Ontario government on Nov. 19, students and faculty went back to classrooms. For some faculty the issues of the strike are still lingering, while others are hopeful that strike will improve conditions for workers at the college and elsewhere.
Morris Marshall, business professor (full-time)
“I thought (the strike) lasted longer than I had anticipated and I’m hoping that some good things come out of it in terms of the way that part-timers are treated and hopefully the future work and conditions they receive.”
Marilyn Oladimeji, assaulted women’s and children’s counsellor/advocate professor (full-time)
“As an employee, having to not be in the classroom working, I was sort of regretful that it had to come to the process that we were engaging in—with negotiating—and that we actually had to have a strike for our voices to be heard,” said Marilyn Oladimeji. “It felt as though we were coming back, nothing was accomplished over the five weeks.”
Paul Serafini, business professor (part-time)
“Well in terms of the way that it ended, you know, there’re some parts I would expect that there would be some continued bargaining between the sides,” said Paul Serafini, a part-time teacher. “I believe that the negotiation should’ve continued and both sides should’ve sat down to work out an agreement without having the government to step in.”
Alar Petersoo, business professor (full-time)
“I absolutely thought it would be resolved much faster, in a couple of weeks, but then as it went on it became very apparent that although the sides were talking and they were, you know, discussing, it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere,” said Alar Petersoo, a full-time professor at the School of Business. “I guess I’m very happy to be back at the classroom with the students. But at the same time, nothing has been resolved.”
Margaret Alexander, professor and co-ordinator of the assaulted women’s and children’s counsellor/advocate (full-time)
“Since we’ve been back, it’s not been a happy place to work. I believe that we’ve experienced the college treating us somewhat disrespectfully and I think the only good thing about being back is being with our students again.”
Tom Tomassi, president OPSEU Local 556, professor of construction and engineering technologies.
“I really do believe that we have began a social movement to move away from precarious work. At the end of the day, once (students) graduate they will also benefit from that.”
“This is the longest strike we’ve ever had. This is the first strike for the system which, when you put it into context, is really not that bad,” said Tomassi. “The expectations were that within three, three and a half weeks we would be back into class and if in fact the government did pass the legislation and brought us back after the third week then we wouldn’t be in the mess that we presently are in.”