The new semester might just be getting underway, but news of a potential strike is looming.

According to CTV News, the union that represents the faculty at the 24 public colleges have voted in favour of a strike mandate, if the upcoming contract discussions fail to result in a new agreement.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says 68 per cent of its members have voted in favour of the strike, which comes days before collective bargaining is scheduled to resume next week.

The current contract agreement is for 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, which expires on September 30th. The key issues at light include the role of faculty in academic decision-making and fair treatment for contract faculty.

As of now, the College Employer Council has so far ignored all 16 proposals that ask to "improve the quality and fairness of the college system in Ontario", says union bargaining team chair J.P. Hornick, in a news release.

"Hopefully this strike vote will be the incentive the colleges need to start negotiating for real," Hornick said. Currently, 81% of college teaching is completed by contracted faculty, who are paid significantly less than full-time permanent faculty and have zero job security.

While no strike or lockout deadline has been set, the colleges teach about 220,000 students across Ontario, who will all be greatly affected if a strike comes into play. 

All we can hope is that contract negotiations come to a fair agreement next week and no strike has to happen.

Source: CTV News

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