Students Exploring Class Action Lawsuit Against Striking Colleges

17 November, 2017, 02:11 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • College rally

Ontario's New Democrats have blocked an attempt by the Liberal government to table back-to-work legislation today to end a almost five-week strike by college faculty. We don't know what will happen, and for anyone to say they know what will happen would be really presumptuous. The students organized the rally to support the striking workers at George Brown College.

The colleges proposed that students return to classes immediately and all outstanding issues be sent to arbitration. The two sides were bargaining when the Council announced November 6 that it would ask the The Ontario Labour Relations Board to hold a vote.

OPSEU President Smokey Thomas congratulated faculty for standing up for a better college system by rejecting the offer.

"We stand with hundreds of thousands of college students when we say 'enough already'".

The union refused to agree and instead demanded that the colleges accept the $5,000 payment to faculty. The council said it was a "contentious" decision, but could not rely on bargaining to end the strike.

Faculty were also seeking academic freedom, which one official from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union called the "core - it is the crux - around our issue of quality education".

The strike by 12,800 professors, partial-load instructors, counsellors and librarians is the longest in the 50-year history of the Ontario college system.

The provincial government has ordered the colleges to create a fund - using savings from the strike - to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of the labour dispute.

Rick Webb, director of human resources and corporate communications at Sault College said the college is disappointed in the result and was hoping classes would resume. "Additionally the fall semester will be extended in January; however we are unable to provide specific dates until the strike is over". It seeks full refunds for students who choose not to continue with their programs and refunds "equivalent to the value of the lost instruction" for students who do want to continue.

The notice of action alleges the colleges breached contracts with students by failing to provide vocational training and a full term of classes.



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