At Home: Strike now possible for Ontario college instructors
A recent vote brought the possibility of strike action one step closer for some 9,000 Ontario college instructors. According to the CBC, roughly 57 per cent of those voting gave their union ?the green light? to strike.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) represents the faculty members. An OPSEU spokesperson said that, even if a strike were to happen, it wouldn’t take place until at least mid-February.
The union had been in talks with the colleges for five months before negotiations broke down on December 15 last year. The main issues concerning the union are academic freedom and workload. Another key issue is last November’s decision by management that would have imposed ?its offer on the teachers without a vote.?
According to a press release, the offer would raise the maximum yearly salary to just under $104,000, and would also see salaries increase ?by eight per cent over four years.?
The provincial government is urging both sides to think of the 200,000 full-time students who would be caught in the middle of a strike. John Milloy, the Minister for Training, Colleges and Universities, expressed his concern in a release. ?I am very concerned that the ongoing contract dispute between faculty and Colleges has the potential to interrupt classes for thousands of Ontario students,? he said.
In Foreign News: Union workers to have dedicated online college
America’s labour unions are approximately 11.5 million members strong, and a new online college is being created especially for those members and their families. The initiative is a joint project of the Princeton Review and the National Labor College, along with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (A.F.L.-C.I.O.).
As The New York Times reports, the new college is ?tentatively named the College for Working Families.? Courses are planned to begin this fall, and the college will be ?the first and only accredited degree-granting online institution devoted exclusively to educating union members.? Bachelor’s degrees would comprise the initial offerings, with master’s and associate’s degrees to follow.
Besides focusing on ?affordable and accessible? training, a key goal for the college will be student retention. As Michael Perik, president of the Princeton Review, told reporters, ?We enter this venture with the strong belief that not enough attention has been paid to student remediation and retention.?
The college will survey union members to determine demand for various programs. So far, courses planned for the fall include business, allied health sciences, criminal justice, and education.