It's officially the second week of the Ontario colleges strike that began after failed negotiations between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council caused a full on walk out. The faculty members at 24 colleges around the province are now on their second week of picketing on empty campuses.
To date, there have been no scheduled talks between the OPSEU and the College Employer Council, causing understandable fury to students province-wide. Since the strike began, students have been taking matters into their hands. It began with students petitioning for tuition reimbursement, which now has over 100,000 signatures.
And now, student associations have gotten involved to advocate for the most affected group in this strike - the students. Eight student unions from across the province have banned together to address the government in an open letter asking for an immediate intervention that would force talks to begin between the colleges and the union.
Addressed to Premier Kathleen Wynne and members of Ontario's legislature, the letter also requested a meeting this Thursday with Wynne, the Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews, the faculty union, and the college representatives if negotiation talks do not begin by Thursday morning.
Representatives from the student unions made it clear that they are not interested in taking sides, but they do want to be back in the classroom and for both parties to reach a common middle ground.