Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday November 8, 2017
Fourth week of Ontario college strike
The union representing striking Ontario college workers says students would soon be on their way back to classes, if the colleges hadn’t left the bargaining table this week.
The Ontario Public Sector Employees Union, representing the 12,000 college workers, held a press conference Tuesday afternoon — one day after colleges called for striking faculty to vote on a final contract offer.
Warren “Smokey” Thomas, president of OPSEU, said the union believed a deal was close after negotiations continued over the weekend.
“Then Monday morning, without any notice to us, the government dropped the bombshell of saying they were going to ask the Ministry of Labour to conduct a vote, which they get to do once during the bargaining cycle,” Thomas said to reporters at the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto.
The College Employer Council, which represents the province’s 24 colleges, asked Ontario’s Labour Relations Board Monday to schedule the vote. It also called on OPSEU to suspend the strike in the five to 10 days it will take to organize the vote.
“We made significant moves to address all of their issues,” said Sonia Del Missier, chair of the colleges’ bargaining team, on Monday. “That offer should have been accepted.”
At Tuesday’s press conference, the union maintained it would advise members to vote no.
“I thought we were close to a deal,” Thomas told reporters. (Source: CBC News)