The College Employer Council called on the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a forced vote on its latest offer at the bargaining table to striking Ontario college faculty on Monday.
The most recent offer by the colleges does not meet the requirements demanded by the faculty union.
The Ontario Public Sector Employees Union says the move will delay an end to the strike.
A vote would mean striking faculty would decide, likely through a simple majority, whether they would override the union negotiating team to accept the latest offer tabled by the colleges.
If striking faculty, librarians and counselors were to vote yes to the deal, the strike would end and union negotiations would be defunct.
Union negotiating chair JP Hornick called on faculty members to reject the offer.
Hornick called the move a “reprehensible stunt”. She had previously warned faculty the forced vote might happen.
The colleges expect it would take five to 10 days for the labour board to call a vote, with Hornick saying it will take two weeks.
The council called on the union to disband the strike while the vote is being prepared.
Vice Provost John Walsh said over the weekend in an email to students that Guelph-Humber was hopeful for the strike to end early this week, but it appears that will not occur.
The strike kicked off on Oct 16 after bargaining between the College Employer Council and OPSEU fell apart.
However, both sides returned to the bargaining table on Thursday in hopes of finding a bargain to agree on.
Humber post-graduate journalism student Brandon Maron said the strike had lasted too long and that it was time for students to return to class.
“I think they’re were right to be striking at the beginning, but now I’m not so much on their side because now it’s gone a bit too far,” Maron told the Post.
Not all students take Maron’s stance, however.
Humber Lakeshore student Paula Greenberg described the forced vote as a “bully tactic” and hoped that union members reject the deal or “this fight fight was for nothing.”
“What’s incredible is that the CEC is just offering the same crap deal they proposed on Oct 16,” said Greenberg.
“It is very disappointing that the council is asking us to vote on an offer that they know is unacceptable to us,” Humber College professor Tyler Shipley said after the Council statement.
“They are wasting everyone’s time here,” Shipley made clear.
“It is evident to anyone paying attention that this council cares more about saving money then it cares for the students and teachers who are at the heart of our colleges.”
Guelph-Humber student frustrations
Many University of Guelph-Humber students have been critical of how the school’s administration has handled the strike.
GH closed down all on-campus classes for three weeks, saying it couldn’t offer its programs in full without the college faculty from Humber, before restarting university classes digitally a week ago.
“Guelph-Humber should really work on making this entire situation easier on the students,” GH Media Studies student Christopher Megally told the Post.
“The fact that my assignments are worth a ton more hand all my midterms will potentially be crammed within a few days is nonsense,” explained a frustrated Megally, saying that he expected “more common sense from higher ups.”
The Post got permission from student Sanjay Singh to share a post from the GH class of 2020 Facebook group where he called for a refund.
“I know for a fact I am not going to pay [$5,000] for some online bull—-,” posted Singh, a second year in the business program.
“We already missed [one] quarter of the semester it doesn’t seem worth it anymore,” reads the post that received over 40 likes and comments of support from fellow students.
Despite a petition started by a pair Humber College students that calls for college refunds, the University of Guelph made it clear to the Post that it is high unlikely the institution would refund students for lost day.
University professors at GH are still receiving full pay, according to Post reporting.
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