After talks and negotiations between the College Employer Council and Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) failed, representatives from the College Employer Council have now made their final contract offer to striking faculty members.
Making an appeal to the Ontario's Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote on this final offer, the College Employer Council have asked striking faculty members to return to class while voting takes place, as the voting period on this final contract offer could be as long as 5 to 10 days.
But reportedly, the OPSEU has made it clear that it has no intentions of returning to the classroom, meaning that the strike looks like it will reach the fast-approaching one month mark on November 13.
Members of the OPSEU believe suspending a strike while voting takes place is "a ridiculous thing to ask" of them, according to Kevin MacKay, a member of the union.
Meanwhile, members from the College Employer Council are shocked that negotiations were not settled after the talks conducted last week.
Sonia Del Missier, head of bargaining for the College Employer Council, says the offer made to the OPSEU during negotiations met their primary concerns, such as academic freedom guarantees. “The offer right now, on the table, should have ended the strike," she said. "There is simply no rational reason for the union to remain on strike.”
And while the College Employer Council waits for the verdict from the OPSEU contract vote, colleges around the province have started announcing their plans and changes to semester schedules for when the strike ends.
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George Brown, Durham and Centennial College have already advised students that classes will go right up to December 22 and reopen early in 2018.
George Brown College has also announced that the break for intersession week, which was scheduled from February 26 to March 2, is now cancelled "in order to allow students to complete their year on time."
In preparation for when the strike (hopefully) ends either by direct vote, negotiation or back-to-work legislation, some colleges have announced their return policy for students. Most, like Durham College, have confirmed that students will receive two to three business days' notice before they are required to return to class.