The Ontario Labour Relations Board has voted in favour of allowing faculty members at Ontario’s 24 community colleges to vote on the colleges’ most recent offer on Feb. 10.
This will extend the strike deadline, once more, from Feb. 11 to Feb. 17.
The strike would effectively close the doors of colleges around Ontario.
According to a press release issued by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the chair of the bargaining team, Ted Montgomery, has recommended that faculty reject the college’s offer and continue to negotiate.
Vishal Member, president of Centennial College’s Student Alliance, said this year is especially crucial for Centennial College students as there is a very large graduating class. Although he wants to ensure that everything that can be done to preserve the students’ year is being done, he admits that it is out of his hands.
“The students don’t have a say on the negotiating strategies and we can’t influence (either party),” he said. “All we can do is hope that they don’t go on strike.”
Montgomery has also said that should negotiations fail, any unsettled issues will go to binding arbitration, which should avert a strike.
“We want to not only meet the needs of our members, but the needs of the students who depend on uninterrupted education,” Montgomery said. “It is a high priority for us.”