Among the natural disasters, horrible attacks, and general crapfest that was 2017, we'll always have this year go down as the longest strike in Ontario teaching history. Starting on October 16th the contract faculty at 24 Ontario public colleges walked off the job, marking the beginning of a long and emotional five weeks.
After a month of students out of school, teachers and contract staff picketing around campuses everywhere and a general media circus around the strike, the government of Ontario stepped in on November 21st to say enough was enough. They announced a back-to-work legislation that effectively put the college strike to an end.
The legislation forced teachers and contract staff back into classrooms and stated that outstanding issues would be referred to binding mediation-arbitration.
Now almost a month later, we have the details on what the outcome was from the long and tedious strike. According to The Star, they have been given a "7.75-per-cent pay hike over four years and a $900 return-to-work payout. The decision also included general references to the need for academic freedom."
However, there are conditions on who gets the full payout. Full-time faculty member will be paid a full $900-payout, while “partial-load” instructors will only get $450 for their lost time and wages. A joke really when full-time professors lost an estimated $10,000 in salary during the strike.
When it comes to the academic freedom and the ability to have more say in school decisions, the conclusion is very vague. Staff members have been told that “the right to inquire about, investigate, pursue, teach and speak freely about academic issues without fear of impairment to position or other reprisal” has been added to the schools' mandates but nothing more concrete than that will be implemented.
After weeks and months of upheaval for students and staff, the outcomes leaves much to be desired. We hope on all accounts, it was worth it.