Public Values

Ontario community college teachers set to strike

Negotiations broke down when colleges walked away from the table.

Class sizes turing colleges into diploma factories, says unionA vote for a strike mandate has been authorized by officials of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), chair Ted Montgomery and president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. It will be held on January 13, 2010 and, if the results are yes, it will send 9,000 community college teachers to the picket lines.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is throwing its full support behind the teachers and OPSEU. (OPSEU is the largest Component within NUPGE, which has 340,000 members across Canada.)

OPSEU was attempting to negotiate a new contract with Ontario's College Compensation and Appointments Council (CCAC) until the council walked away from the bargaining table earlier this month. NUPGE president James Clancy, in a letter to Warren (Smokey) Thomas, extended his full "support and solidarity" to the teachers as they get ready to vote.

"It is clear that the key priority for OPSEU faculty members is to negotiate a collective agreement that will reverse the decline in education quality," Clancy says.

"It is deeply disappointing that the college management team doesn’t share this goal. It is frustrating that the council has refused to negotiate in good faith with OPSEU and their unilateral imposition of terms and conditions of work is an assault on the labour rights of college workers," he added.

"It is unfortunate that the employer’s model for the future of college education in Ontario is to cram more students into larger classes, with less faculty time for individual students. This model will turn Ontario’s colleges into diploma factories, where the quantity of graduates is more important than the quality of their education."

NUPGE strongly backs the decision of faculty members to "take a stand against this disastrous employer model of education," Clancy said.

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Posted: December 23, 2009

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