GH to restart classes digitally despite strike

The University of Guelph-Humber said on Thursday the school will resume some classes digitally starting Monday regardless of the college union strike. 

The school says students will not be expected to face a picket line or go to the campus.

Only faculty employed by the University of Guelph will have their classes start back up again, with courses taught by their Humber counterparts unaccessible for the duration of the college union’s strike.

An email went out to students via Registrarial Services at 12:09 pm saying that “all course instruction will resume in an alternative format”, for example, online.

“Course delivery may include greater use of CourseLink, podcasts, livestreaming, voice-over PowerPoint and video-recorded lectures,” reads the email.

It appears GH university faculty, who are not part of the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union but the U of G Faculty Association, will not have to go on campus either.

The email requests students check their Courselink class websites for more information on their specific classes, and for general information, the updates page on the GH website.


Two weeks of striking

Due to a deadline passing for negotiations between the Ontario Public Services Employees Union and the Ontario Employers Council on Sunday, a strike came into effect Oct. 16 for Ontario’s 24 public colleges.

The University of Guelph-Humber is in the unique position of having both Humber College and University of Guelph professors at its campus.

The GH administration said that because they could not offer all programs in full without Humber staff, the university would shut down all classes in the event of a strike.


 

More details to follow.  Image 1 of Guelph-Humber from previous articles. Original version said classes were being resumed “on campus” but the Post has since fixed it to reflect “digitally”.

Strike rally rocks Bay St

Hundreds attended a solidarity strike rally on Wednesday that took place outside the office of the provincial education ministry on Bay St.


All coverage on the strike since day one

Rally at Humber Lakshore


Multiple speakers and a performer took to the back of a union provided pick up truck to speak to strikers, made up of picketers from colleges across Toronto.

After a deadline passed at 12:01 am on Oct 16, members of the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union went on strike.

OPSEU, representing some 12,000 faculty, librarians and counselors from Ontario’s 24 public colleges, could not get the College Employers Council to agree to a reformed deal that included demands for more full-time staff, job security and say over academic programs.

The rally’s location was chosen specifically to be in front of Liberal Cabinet Minister Deb Matthews’ office, the Member of Provincial Parliament in charge of the post-secondary portfolio.

“It was important to bring the message of Fairness for Faculty to the doorsteps of minister Deb Matthews,” rally performer Mohammed Ali told the Post. Ali, the “socialist vocalist” rapped at the event in support of the union.

“The government is talking about Fairness in the lead up to their re-election efforts but they are providing very little fairness,” Ali said. The artist has been at several rally events across Toronto.


The Post interviews Mohammed Ali


Humber student Paula Greenberg said it was important for her come support strikers at the rally as she understood the union demand of more full-time contracts for faculty.

“As a mature student, I understand the nature of precarious work,” Greenberg told the Post, explaining that when she returned to school she was disappointed with the the way contracts work.

I support my faculty because they deserve to be treated fairly and given fair opportunities.”

Bay St south of Wellelsey St was shut down for the rally from around 11 am to just before noon. Strikers dispersed afterwards, despite a rally being planned for afterwards on the front lawn of Queen’s Park.

A small crowd of around 30 showed up to the provincial parliament, holding emphatic speeches and continuing some the energy from the rally.

CBC News reported on Monday that Employers Council head Don Sinclair said that no new talks were scheduled and that he doesn’t think the strike will end anytime soon.

Negotiating chair JP Hornick, present at the Bay St rally as a speaker, said that the strike will go on until there is a return to the bargaining table in regards to the new offers.

The colleges are still offering the deal on the table the union rejected on Oct 15, leading to the strike.

The union wants the Council to meet its demands, or least heavily consider them in coming to the table, calling upon Matthews and Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government to encourage the colleges to come to the table open to reform.

However, OPSEU is cautious as it does not want “back-to-work legislation” where Queen’s Park forces faculty back to work with the Council’s terms.

A solidarity rally is planned for next Thursday in front of Queen’s Park if the strike is still ongoing, with attendees expected from all 24 colleges.

One faculty member told the Post attendance was low at Bay St, as all picketing faculty from Toronto were to come to the rally.

However, next Thursday, the rally will draw on the 12,000 members on strike provincially.


 What are the union demands?

According to a pamphlet made by two college librarians, there are five reasons faculty are on strike.

The first bullet point is the headline “we need more full-time faculty”, the top sticking point for a majority of union members the Post has questioned. The union says full-time faculty numbers are decreasing while the student population increases year-to-year.

Second on the pamphlet is that contract faculty members need job security.

Those on contract need to re-apply every semester to continue to hold a job, and a majority of college faculty are on this system.

Number three on the list is equal work deserving equal pay. Faculty that aren’t full time are not being paid for the time they spend preparing for courses, marking academic submissions and out-of-class support.

Humber student Paula Greenberg told the Post last week that many teachers in her Child and Youth Services program at Humber College worked in their field as well as teaching, as they were not employed full-time.

“Quality of life for my teachers is important because it effects my education,” Greenberg explained.

She said with part-time faculty they didn’t have enough time to properly “address questions, meet students outside of class and explain lectures”, causing both the teacher and the student stress.

The fourth pamphlet point is that academic decisions require faculty input.

OPSEU local board executive Miles Magner called on a “Senate or some way to craft academic work.”

OPSEU supporter Mohammed Ali has touched on that, saying that he had seen success at Ryerson where both faculty and students had input on their academic content.

The reason for why Ontario college faculty are on strike is that the ratio between counselors and students need to be balanced for the sake of the students.

Strikers say the college administrations are now “moving to outsource” the work of counsellors, which OPSEU says gives “less accessibility to adequate and meaningful mental health coverage for students.”


More details to follow. Image 1 of the rally from The GH Post.

Strikers to hold rally at minister’s office

College union strikers will be picketing and holding a solidarity rally on Wednesday in front of the office of a Liberal Party cabinet minister in downtown Toronto. 


Read everything strike from day one

GH safe from second strike


The union wants to get the College Employer Council back to the bargaining table to find a solution to the strike after negotiations between the Council and the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union fell through on Oct 16.

Member of Provincial Parliament Deb Matthews, in charge of the post-secondary portfolio, runs the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development on 900 Bay St where the rally will be held.

Matthews recently tweeted that an end to the strike can be found “at the bargaining table.”

Like other solidarity rallies across the province in the last week, there will be speakers and a performer.

According to the Facebook event page, the following speakers and performer will be present:

  • OPSEU President Warren Thomas
  • College Faculty Bargaining Team Chair JP Hornick
  • Contract faculty speakers from the GTA
  • Pam Frache, Ontario Coordinator for Fight for $15 and Fairness
  • Mohammad Ali, the “Socialist Vocalist”

Union members from across the Greater Toronto Area will be largely leaving their home school picket lines to converge on Bay St starting at 7:30 am, with the rally getting underway at 11 am.

The rally is public and described as “kid-friendly.”

Ali, or the “Socialist Vocalist” has been present at several union rallies, rapping lyrics he wrote in support of those picketing.

The Post spoke to Ali last week after a rally at the Humber Lakeshore campus where he energized the crowd into chanting and even rapping along with him.

For now, there appears to be no sign of a return to the bargaining table as 24 public colleges across Ontario are on strike, also shutting down Guelph-Humber. Some 500,000 full- and part-time students are currently without classes.


What are the union demands?

According to a pamphlet made by two college librarians, there are five reasons faculty are on strike.

The first bullet point is the headline “we need more full-time faculty”, the top sticking point for a majority of union members the Post has questioned. The union says full-time faculty numbers are decreasing while the student population increases year-to-year.

Likely the biggest issue raised during Friday’s rally, and second on the pamphlet, was that contract faculty members need job security.

Those on contract need to re-apply every semester to continue to hold a job, and a majority of college faculty are on this system.

Rally MC Johnson said that she has been a contract faculty for 18 years, with others even longer. This was met with boo’s and jeers.

Number three on the list is equal work deserving equal pay. Faculty that aren’t full time are not being paid for the time they spend preparing for courses, marking academic submissions and out-of-class support.

Paula Greenberg told the Post at the rally that many teachers in her Child and Youth Services program at Humber College worked in their field as well as teaching, as they were not employed full-time.

“Quality of life for my teachers is important because it effects my education,” Greenberg explained.

She said with part-time faculty they didn’t have enough time to properly “address questions, meet students outside of class and explain lectures”, causing both the teacher and the student stress.

Local union executive board member Myles Magner spoke on the fourth pamphlet point, saying that academic decisions require faculty input.

Magner called on a “Senate or some way to craft academic work.”

Mohammed Ali had also touched on that, saying that he had seen success at Ryerson where both faculty and students had input on their academic content.

The reason for why Ontario college faculty are on strike is that the ratio between counsellors and students need to be balanced for the sake of the students.

Strikers say the college administrations are now “moving to outsource” the work of counsellors, which OPSEU says gives “less accessibility to adequate and meaningful mental health coverage for students.”


Student presence at Humber Lakeshore rally 


Andrea Babbington of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council told those gathered that she applauded their courage in “standing up to the boss.”

Babbington said the Ontario Federation of Labour supported the strikers in their fight against the “exploitation of the worker” and encouraged the masses to “keep up the fight, sisters and brothers!”

“We are with youth community is with you, the students are with you!”


More details to follow. Image 1 of picketers from the Facebook event page for the Wednesday solidarity rally. 

GH safe from second strike

After a stretch of renewal negotiations that started in July, the University of Guelph has reached a tentative contract agreement with its faculty’s union, avoiding a second strike from hitting Guelph-Humber.

The school and the U of G Faculty Association that represents some 800 faculty, librarians and veterinarians also represent many of those teaching or providing services at GH, much like Humber College’s union.

In a post on the university website on Sunday, the U of G said that final bargaining details will “remain confidential” until it’s ratified by the “membership of UGFA and the University’s Board of Governors.”

The University of Guelph-Humber would likely suffer a shut down much like it is now from the college union strike if the UGFA were to walk away from the bargaining table.

However, it appears as though a deal is on its way to confirmation.

The Post reached out to Ignite leadership for comment, but did not receive a response.


More details to follow. Image 1 of the University of Guelph from the school DNA Bar Coding website.

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Student leaders request return to bargaining

Student union presidents from eight schools have called on Queen’s Park to force college and union representatives to get back to the bargaining table to end a labour strike that has cancelled classes at 24 public colleges and one university since Oct 16. 

The strike launched last Monday when the College Employer’s Union and Ontario Public Sector Employees Union could not come to a deal before the deadline at 12:01 am.

In a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne and several Members of Provincial Parliament, the student leaders request that Ontario get the two sides to the bargaining table to end the dispute that has affected some 500,000 full- and part-time students across the province.

“We shouldn’t be a bargaining chip in this,” Fanshawe College student president Marganna Sampson said on Friday quoted by CBC News.

Sampson said those signing the letter are not taking sides in the strike but want both parties to find a solution to the problem.

“We’re not here to criticize or judge r to overstep in anyway, we are just representing our students and we want what’s best for them in the long run,” she said.


Ignite’s neutrality questioned

Student leadership from Humber, which also represents Guelph-Humber under Ignite, as well as leaders at Seneca, St. Clair, Mohawk, Niagara, Sheridan, Confederation and Fanshawe college’s have signed the letter.

However, many students have given their full support to the teachers walking the picket lines, contrasting their own student presidents’ claimed neutrality.

In the comment section of the official Ignite response to the strike posted on Facebook, Humber Lakeshore student Paula Greenberg asked this: “Does IGNITE have any plans to show solidarity for the faculty? Other institutions’ students are having rallies to support their striking faculty.”

Ignite President Maja Jocson responded saying that Ignite was holding a “neutral position for this issue” as they understand the views of both parties.

Jocson posted that the student union was “committed to support our students and ensure that students voice is heard during this time.”
Following up with Greenberg, the Post asked whether the effort by Jocson and other student executives to get OPSEU and the College Employers Council is a valuable cause.
“I do think having the government involved to get them back to the bargaining table is good, but I do worry that colleges still will not meet the demands of the union,” the Childcare and Family Services student said in response.
Tyler Shipley, a teacher at Humber College now on strike, was surprised by the Ignite statement. He emphasized that all parties, including the staff, want the strike to end.
“But the statement, with all that emphasis on ‘neutrality’, can be easily used by the government to justify back-to-work legislation,” he told the Post.
Shipley said forcing the strike to end would be a “disaster” for the faculty. The intervention that Ignite President Maja Jocson and other school leaders call for is “is totally in favour of the employer.”
“So, although I really, really understand students’ impatience to get back to class, and I share it, I think the whole point is that we want to go back under better conditions, not worse conditions.”
The Post reached out via email to Jocson but have not received a response at this time.
Several student rallies have been held in support of striking faculty, which include professors, librarians and counsellors.
The strike, at this point, sees no sign of ending.
A strike rally for all college picketers in Toronto is being on Wednesday in front of Deb Matthews’ office, the provincial minister in charge of the post-secondary portfolio.

More details to follow. Image of Queen’s Park from the Toronto Star. Correction: Shipley was not “disappointed”, but “surprised”.

Socialist vocalist energizes strike rally

Mohammed Ali, known by his stage name the “Socialist Vocalist”, brought the energy to Friday’s solidarity strike through passionate and energized rap lyrics. 

“When I say OPSEU, y’all say strong / OPSEU! STRONG! OPSEU! STRONG!/ When I say Socialist, y’all say Hip Hop/ SOCIALIST! HIP HOP! SOCIALIST! HIP HOP,” the rapper led the crowd in chants.

Ali got the masses moving with his particular talent at the rally, with strikers clapping along and cheering as lyrics flowed from the back of a pick-up truck.

“All and together, sister, brother sing this song. The union, yes the union, the union makes us strong,” rapped the activist musician, a lyric from his “Solidarity Forever”.

Ali has participated in strikes in the past as a student and has performed at several OPSEU events as an artist.


Ali’s mission

The GH Post was able to connect with Ali after the rally and asked several questions.

The Post What about the labour movement attracts you?

Ali Labour is a broad movement that brings together a large cross section of the working class. Through strength in numbers, organized labour is able to win real gains to improve the lives of all workers.

The Post Were you invited to today’s event?

Ali I was invited to the event today to perform and to share my experiences as a former college student.

The Post Was your performance volunteer or paid?

Ali I was provided an honorarium for performing today. I travelled 3 hours from Niagara Falls and had expenses such as travel. An honorarium is always helpful in making an event accessible to me, especially when travelling so far.

The Post What would you say to students who are concerned for their education?

Ali I feel that students need to work more closely with campus staff and faculty in fighting for a better education system. Be it lowering tuition fees or improving instructor-student class size ratios or gaining a stronger voice on campus, we are more effective when we are all united in fighting for a better education system.

The Post What would you say to faculty who are concerned for their jobs?

Ali I am in solidarity with faculty who are fighting to make sure that all students have a better education.

The Post How would you describe your rapping’s effectiveness?

Ali My music shares the stories of everyday people so it’s effective because it’s not only my story being told, but all of our stories.

The Post You got a crowd jumping–why are these rallies important in general and to you?

Ali It’s important to both educate as well as energize workers who are on strike. Walking the picket line day to day is not easy and any energy that can be instilled in workers walking the picket line only serves to strengthen their resolve for a just contract.


Image 1 of Mohammed Ali from The GH Post. 

 

 

Solidarity rally rocks Humber Lakeshore

Hundreds of faculty, students and supporters turned out to a strike solidarity rally at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus. 

Speeches, performances and chants dominated the one hour long event held on 23rd St metres down the pavement from Lake Shore Blvd. Those engaging the masses stood on the back of a pick-up truck organizers said had been provided by the union.

JP Hornick, chair of the college union negotiating team, went through the history of negotiations this year in a speech that includes chants and a message of support.

Hornick said that if the Ontario Public Services Employees Union gave into college demands at any point earlier this year the deal would not have a solution.

The OPSEU negotiator said the College Employer Council had spent this week attempting to “bully” the union team. Hornick explained that on Thursday the Council had threatened to let the strike go on for six weeks.

The rally master of ceremonies Pam Johnson said, picketing has been scheduled for outside Debbie Matthews’ office, the Ontario government minister in charge of the post-secondary portfolio, next Wednesday.

At 7:30 am on Oct 25, all picketers from across Toronto’s colleges will convene at 90 Bay St for the protest outside Matthews’ office, with a massive rally scheduled for 11 am.

“Of course we want both sides to get back to the table,” Matthews said earlier this week.

However, Hornick said that while a parliament bill numbered 148 was a step in the right direction, it was not enough to address what OPSEU is seeking for teachers, librarians and counsellors that are part of the union.

Due to a deadline passing for negotiations between OPSEU and the Ontario Employers Council on Sunday, a strike came into effect on Oct 16 for Ontario’s 24 public colleges. Since then, faculty have been picketing unable to enter their schools.

James Compton of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, who is in Toronto for a conference on staff contracts, said that “your issues are our issues.”

Compton expressed solidarity on behalf of the college faculty’s counterparts in the university stream, saying that contract security is a struggle across Canada.

“We are with you until the end,” Compton said.

Energy at the rally was high for its majority, but perhaps its pinnacle came near the end when Mohammed Ali the “Socialist Vocalist” took to the pick-up and rapped out nearly ten minutes worth of smooth bars on union’s and employer mistreatment.

Ali spoke to workers’ issues across Canada as well as some specific to education.


Read more on Ali’s performance


What are the union demands?

 

According to a pamphlet made by two college librarians, there are five reasons faculty are on strike.

The first bullet point is the headline “we need more full-time faculty”, the top sticking point for a majority of union members the Post has questioned. The union says full-time faculty numbers are decreasing while the student population increases year-to-year.

Likely the biggest issue raised during Friday’s rally, and second on the pamphlet, was that contract faculty members need job security.

Those on contract need to re-apply every semester to continue to hold a job, and a majority of college faculty are on this system.

Rally MC Johnson said that she has been a contract faculty for 18 years, with others even longer. This was met with boo’s and jeers.

Number three on the list is equal work deserving equal pay. Faculty that aren’t full time are not being paid for the time they spend preparing for courses, marking academic submissions and out-of-class support.

Paula Greenberg told the Post at the rally that many teachers in her Child and Youth Services program at Humber College worked in their field as well as teaching, as they were not employed full-time.

“Quality of life for my teachers is important because it effects my education,” Greenberg explained.

She said with part-time faculty they didn’t have enough time to properly “address questions, meet students outside of class and explain lectures”, causing both the teacher and the student stress.

Local union executive board member Myles Magner spoke on the fourth pamphlet point, saying that academic decisions require faculty input.

Magner called on a “Senate or some way to craft academic work.”

Mohammed Ali had also touched on that, saying that he had seen success at Ryerson where both faculty and students had input on their academic content.

The reason for why Ontario college faculty are on strike is that the ratio between counsellors and students need to be balanced for the sake of the students.

Strikers say the college administrations are now “moving to outsource” the work of counsellors, which OPSEU says gives “less accessibility to adequate and meaningful mental health coverage for students.”

Andrea Babbington of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council told those gathered that she applauded their courage in “standing up to the boss.”

Babbington said the Ontario Federation of Labour supported the strikers in their fight against the “exploitation of the worker” and encouraged the masses to “keep up the fight, sisters and brothers!”

“We are with youth community is with you, the students are with you!”


Students support at rally

College students came out in droves to the rally on Friday, with a group called “Humber Voice Now” performed a rendition of the popular Queen song “We Will Rock You”.

The students replaced the chorus line with “we want classes” in support for a return to the bargaining table and an end to the strike.

A Change.org petition started by two Humber students has accumulated over 93,000 signatures asking to end the strike and get a refund for the missed days.

Several faculty that the Post connected with at the rally said they agreed with the refund for students.

The Post asked the union representing the university faculty at Guelph-Humber if there would be a chance of a refund for GH students. The response was a firm “no”.

Students have been active on picket lines at all 24 public colleges, with some even starting their own petitions in support of strikers.


More details to follow. Don’t miss a story and follow The GH Post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Humber to hold strike rally

Humber College is holding a strike solidarity rally at its Lakeshore Campus on Friday. 

The rally starts at 11 am at the corner of Lakeshore Blvd and 23rd St downtown Toronto, according to the Facebook event page.

The description reads “join Humber College faculty and students fighting together for quality education and decent jobs.”

JP Hornick, chair of the college union negotiating team, will be in attendance along with other speakers and performers.

Humber Faculty Union President Bob Bolf, Andria Babbington of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council and OPSEU’ region five executive board member Myles Magner will also be speaking.

Performers include Mohammed Alu, the “Socialist Vocalist”, and the Humber Student Voices.


Location of rally point

eliridder-humber-lakeshore-solidarity-rally.jpg


More details to follow. Image 1 of strikers from the Facebook event page. Image 2 via MapHub. 

 

 

Picketing continues across Ontario

On day four of the Ontario college union strike, picketing is strong at campuses across the province. 

At York University, a rally was held in support of Seneca faculty on the picket line.

Students and professors alike were on the scene waving local 3903 CUPE flags, with many hoping there would be a return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.

The some 500,000 students cast out of their schools on Monday due to the Ontario Public Services Employees Union have found their voice on social media.

The last strike by OPSEU was in 2006, a time when Facebook and Twitter had just burst on to the Internet and hashtags were a foreign language. Fast-forward 11 years and even movements are sparked through a social media post.

Likely the most prominent hashtag, “#WePayToLearn”, found its fame through a Change.org petition created by two Humber students the Post reported on when the strike first started.

Launched on Oct 11, it has since gathered over 87,000 signatures in support of sides returning to the bargaining table and requesting a tuition refund for days missed.

“I think it’s had at least some impact on the conversation,” said Amir Allana, who started the digital petition with fellow Humber paramedic student Greg Kung.

“That’s been our goal all along, is to bring a student voice to the table and to really highlight what the strike means for so many students.”

UPSEU Local 110, representing 800 Fanshawe faculty members, officially endorsed the petition as it picked up speed.

If all signatories are students, nearly a fifth of all college students in the province have signed it.

However, online petitions can not be officially presented in the provincial province at Queen’s Park, where legislators have held off on forcing a conclusion to the strike.

In regards to the unique situation of Guelph-Humber, the faculty union representing university staff told a Post journalist on Tuesday that GH students would likely not receive a refund on time missed.

University professors at GH continue to be paid full salary under the U of Guelph, but do not teach classes.

The administration encourages students to continue their studies as usual, which teachers allowed to communicate with students via email, update Courselink and hold office hours.

Darryl Bedford, an OPSEU bargaining team member from Fanshawe, told IF Press that the union is no closer to the bargaining table.

Mr Bedford hopes that the student movement will translate to tangible change.


More details to follow. Files from IF Press for Darryl Bedford. Image 1 of picket line from Murray Cooke on Twitter. 

 

 

Colleges prepare for long strike, day 3

As day three of the union strike for Ontario’s 24 public colleges arrives, its members are preparing for a long road ahead. 


Read the latest on the strike


At Ontario’s parliament in Toronto, politicians on both sides of the aisle have urged the Ontario Employers Council and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union to return to the bargaining table for the sake of the students.

“Of course we want both sides to get back to the table,” said Deb Matthews, the minister in charge of the post-secondary education portfolio at Queen’s Park.

“We want students back in the classroom as quickly as possible.”

Back-to-work legislation that would put pressure on the union members to return to their jobs is not on the table yet, said Ms. Matthews on Tuesday.

“We have to let the collective bargaining process work and give it the space to do that,” Matthews, a Liberal MPP, told reporters after Question Period.

“But it’s very important for students that they do get back to the table and find a resolution and get students back in the classroom.”

Progressive Conservative Party leader Patrick Brown said the college system is in need of “provincial leadership” so that students find themselves in the classroom again.

The New Democratic Party education critic Peggy Sattler said that “faculty want fairness and students want opportunities to learn.”

Ms. Sattler criticized the Liberal government for not working to get students back at the public colleges.

Due to a deadline passing for negotiations between OPSEU and the Ontario Employers Council on Sunday, a strike came into effect on Oct. 16.

Some 500,000 students across the province don’t have physical classes for the duration of the strike.

College staff are paid a stipend from a union pool funded by dues paid over the time of their union membership if they participate in striking, either through picketing or otherwise.

The University of Guelph-Humber is also shut down because they could not provide the full programs to students due to employing several college faculty members.

Meanwhile, a Change.org petition for student tuition refunds has racked up 45,000 signatures since The Post first reported on it Monday.

However, a staffer for the university faculty union for Guelph-Humber made clear ithe school would likely not engage in tuition refunds.

University of Guelph staff at GH continue to be paid in full, and are encouraged to stay in contact with their students.


Don’t miss out on a story.

Follow The GH Post on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


More details to follow. Image 1 of striking faculty on Oct. 16, 2017 from the Toronto Star. 

GH students frustrated with strike

The University of Guelph-Humber is the only post-secondary institution of its kind, and that rings true through a strike as well. 

Due to a deadline passing for negotiations between the Ontario Public Services Employees Union and the Ontario Employers Council on Sunday, a strike came into effect on Oct. 16.

Many Humber College professors The Post has contacted say the students are on their side with the demands they have to increase full-time positions, among other negotiation items.

Guelph-Humber shut down due to not being able to “offer classes and programs in their entirety to our entire student base.”

However, many U of GH students have expressed their distaste at the classes being cancelled on social media.

The U of GH is the only university shutting down classes because of the strike in Ontario, but many hope for a quick resolution to they can return to their studies.


More details to follow. Image 1 from past articles. 

 

Full pay for U of G profs, no tuition refund

GH staff that are members of the University of Guelph Faculty Association are still recieving full pay during the College union strike that started on Oct. 16, but they cannot cross the picket line. 

A Post journalist called the union representing U of G faculty and learned that while staff cannot pass the picket line as already explained by GH, they are “ready to work.”

The individual on the phone, whose name was not given, told The Post that any hope of college students recieving any sort of refund for their lost tuition expenditures during the strike was highly unlikely.

The UGFA representative said there “was no way tuition would be paid back” when The Post inquired about a Change.org petition calling for refunds. The Post asked if the colleges gave a refund, “would Guelph-Humber do the same?”


Read the latest on the strike here


The University of Guelph-Humber is in a unique position of having several college staff as part of its programs. GH said in a statement that because they could not offer their programs in full to students without Humber College staff, they would shut down the campus in its entirety.

GH said the decision was “made in the best interest and safety of UofGH students.”

Due to a deadline passing for negotiations between the Ontario Public Services Employees Union and the Ontario Employers Council on Sunday, a strike came into effect on Monday.


Emails sent out

The GH Post emailed a series of questions on the status of university faculty at the University of Guelph-Humber.

They were sent via Post Editor-in-Chief Eli Ridder’s student email to the central email for the school on Tuesday morning.

The Post was told to redirect the questions to Elissa Schmidt, who is the Manager of Communications & Public Relations for U of GH.

These questions were sent:

  • During the strike are faculty affiliated with the University of Guelph being paid as usual?
  • If so, does that mean student tuitions are paying for their employment during the strike?
  • Are the university faculty required to continue as normal beyond classes being cancelled? (Ie. Prepare for classes?)
  • If colleges refund students for days lost in regards to tuition, will the University of Guelph-Humber do the same?

More details to follow. Image 1 of the University of Guelph-Humber plant wall from GuelphHumber.ca. This article will update once The Post receives a response. 

Spirits up on strike day 2

Faculty on strike along Humber College Blvd. appear to be high spirits, keeping warm with coffee and sporting protest signs for the second day.


Read more about the strike here


Members of the union representing college professors, librarians and counsellors are drawing on a pool of union dues paid over years to picket for more full-time positions and academic voice, among other things.

After the Oct. 16 deadline for a bargain passed without a deal made, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union went on strike on Monday.


Why is OPSEU on strike?


Buses for the loop at the Humber North Campus have moved their stops due to the picket line. Brampton Transit, York Region and the TCC are all on alternate pick up/drop off spots near the GH and Humber campus.



More details to follow. Image 1 of the picket line 7 a.m. on Oct. 17 from Eli Ridder / The GH Post.

Day 1 of strike at Humber, GH

Monday commenced day one of striking for members of the Ontario colleges union that represents faculty, librarians, and counselors. 


Read the latest on the strike coverage page


Due to a deadline passing for negotiations between the Ontario Public Services Employees Union and the Ontario Employers Council on Sunday, a strike came into effect Oct. 16.

College staff are paid a stipend from a union pool funded by dues paid over the time of their union membership if they participate in striking, either through picketing or otherwise.

Humber professor Tyler Shipley said picketers were arriving as early at 6:30 a.m. to the picket line set up along Humber College Blvd. with most dispersing around 2:00 p.m.

Shipley, who has no official affiliation to the OPSEU, said that a “strike is something no one ever wants to happen”, saying it is the “most dramatic confrontation” most have had to ever experience in the workplace.

Humber picketers were warmed by the support of many students joining them in the sidewalks.

Shipley said every student he had talked to coming onto campus on Monday turned out to be supportive of the strike, hoping that faculty receive their demands so that the strike would end.

The local OPSEU chapter set up de-facto headquarters for the Humber campus strike in a Mobilease trailer in parking lot five outside the college.

Joanne Settle explained that Humber provided counseling and examination accommodations, among other services, to Guelph-Humber that are no longer available.

On campus, however, the Post found that GH-specific services such as the media cage, printers and computer labs were still available to students.

However, security requested GH students leave the building at 6 p.m. Monday evening.

Humber students started a Change.org petition requesting that colleges reimburse their tuition for every day lost to the strike that has garnered some 53,222 signatures online.

A Facebook group called “Students For Ontario College Faculty” has also gained signatures for their physical petition at several institutions including Fleming and Alqonquin colleges.


On campus

Outside of the University of Guelph-Humber, beyond the picket line at Humber Ave., the bus hub was quiet and the sidewalks appeared to be a ghost town.

 

Bus Loop
The bus hub at the Humber North/Guelph-Humber campus / Eli Ridder

 

Inside the school it wasn’t much different.

Besides a few students following what the school said by continuing to work on assignments and study, usually what would be a busy day at GH was otherwise quiet.

GH has requested students gain the most up-to-date information regarding their school on its official updates page.


The demands

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has demanded more full-time positions to a 50/50 ratio of full time to other types and an increased role of faculty in academic decision-making.

In response, the College Employer Council has offered a 7.75 per cent salary increase and improved process for contract faculty to become full-time.

Read the latest on the strike here

The Council said meeting the demands of the union would “add more than $250 million” to annual costs alongside the loss of several thousand contract jobs.

JP Hornick, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team, deemed the council’s statement as inaccurate.

“The colleges have had this year alone a $188 million surplus and the college presidents had not eight months ago gone to the government looking for increases of over 20 per cent for themselves,” Hornick said.

The province had dismissed the salary raises for college senior executives in January of this year.

The other major sticking point for the union representing thousands of college staff is the role of faculty and students in making academic decisions.

Hornick explained that the union seeks “a balance between faculty, administrators and students making the academic decisions in the college” with “everyone participating.”

The College Employer Council said OPSEU is seeking academic “control” by each individual staff member.

The council called the strike “unfair to hundreds of thousands of students” in a statement released on Sunday.

Some students have decided to join faculty on the picket line, some in support of their demand for more full-time positions, among other items of contention.


Guelph-Humber still open

Guelph-Humber, as with nearly all campus’s affected by the strike, is still open and some services are still available.

Printing papers, using computer labs and the learning resource space is still available, but the GH Cafe is closed.

Some 12,000 College staff are on strike as of Monday, leaving some 500,000 students without professors.

U of GH is in the exclusively unique position of having both Humber College and University of Guelph professors at its campus.

The GH administration said that because they could not offer all programs in full without Humber staff the university would shut down all classes in the event of a strike.

Late on Sunday, the strike was confirmed as moving ahead.


More details to follow. Image 1 from Cole Burston / Canadian Press. Image 2 from Eli Ridder / Self-publication.

Students petition for tuition refund

A petition started by a pair of Humber students has gained over 12,500 signatures in support of receiving a refund for every day missed if Ontario colleges were to go on strike on Monday. 

Visit the petition online

“We created this movement, essentially, because we want to be in school,” Humber paramedic student Greg Kung told the Toronto Star. Kung and peer Amir Allana started the petition on behalf of college students across the province.

Kung said that students had paid and put in the time effort to succeed at school, emphasizing that negotiators have to realize “students’ education and students’ futures are at stake.”

“We, the 235,000 full-time and over 300,000 part-time students demand a tuition reimbursement for each day lost should a strike occur,” reads the petition.

Kung and Allana make the point that a near $40 a day would be lost during a strike from students who pay an average of $5,000 for two semesters.

“The purpose of a strike is to put pressure on the employer,” but the Change.org digital petition explains that colleges have nothing to lose.

The letter requests that students be reimbursed $30 a day for full-time students and $20 for part-time.

“If the two bargaining teams do not consider our educational and employment prospects as motive enough to reach an agreement, then perhaps a justifiable hit to the colleges’ bottom line will.”

The hashtag “#wepaytolearn” concludes the petition letter.


Image 1 from YouTube channel ApplyBoard. Originally published on eliridder.ca

Guelph-Humber faces possible strike

The University of Guelph-Humber informed students via email on Thursday that a strike will come into effect on Oct. 16 if there is no agreement reached with the Ontario college union.

Stay up-to-date with the latest reports on the GH Strike page

The union representing full-time and partial-load faculty at all Ontario colleges have given the required five days’ notice that a strike is possible.

This includes Humber professors at GH, but would shut down all classes for the duration of the strike.

The email, and a statement posted on the GH website, went out via the university’s GryphMailservice in a follow up to an email on Oct. 5 that informed students about the OPSEU negotiations.

An email sent out Thursday afternoon by Dr. John Walsh said the school was committed to keeping students updated, encouraging them to check email and the Guelph-Humber updates page over the weekend and before heading to classes on Monday, when the strike could take place.


What to know

In a list of FAQ’s posted online, Guelph-Humber outlines a few key details.

  • Assignments are not due and tests will not be held during a strike, but GH recommends that students continue to work and study as usual.
  • The building will be open for use as per usual, including labs.
  • Parking and residence will not be affected.
  • Students may have to cross a picket line to enter the facility.
  • Guelph University staff would also not be teaching “due to restricted access we would be unable to offer programs and classes in their entirety”.

Read more on the FAQs. 


Limited information

Further questioning by this writer in regards to the history of union strikes at Guelph-Humber was redirected towards the emails and updates on the website which mentioned no further information.

Normally I would turn to applicable media, namely a school publication, to divulge more into this to find out more information, but Guelph-Humber seems to be lacking that for the moment. That is why I have taken it upon myself to launch The GH Post.

Thus, I have taken upon myself to cover the events as they unfold and compile any and all information I can glean over the next few days in the case of a strike to keep people informed in a layman and straightforward way, as a school publication should be doing.


 Image of Guelph-Humber University from Ignite Student Life.

Editor: Start of publication

Welcome to The Guelph-Humber Post, a publication with no official affiliation with the university, but with a mission of filling the immediate need for a student publication for the school. 

I was shocked to discover that our university, especially with such a unique position that we are in, would not have a student-run, independent publication investigating the causes and effects of the strike on the student population and the paid staff.

The aim of this publication goes beyond just the strike, but it is what has initiated its creation. We seek full club status from Ignite once the strike is over and operations resume, but we need more members to do so. So, if you are

So, if you are interested in joining The Post, tap here and send us a message.


Eli Ridder,

Editor-in-Chief of The GH Post

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