**IMPORTANT UPDATE** Potential Faculty Strike – What You Need To Know

**IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT THE FACULTY STRIKE: “College faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) have set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. October 16 in contract talks with their employer, the College Employer Council”**

-OPSEUoriginal article 

Please read below for how CSI will be operating over the coming weeks. It is important to note that this information could change depending on the status of the potential strike. As another important reminder, please continue to look for updates from Conestoga Students Inc. and Conestoga College specifically. Many Ontario colleges from around the province are issuing institution specific statements and it is important that you follow the instructions and guidelines outlined by Conestoga College.

  • During the week of October 16th, CSI’s event programming and services will be running as intended. However, the CSI Shuttle will not be running in order to ensure the safety of our student members and staff.
  • The week of October 23rd is the Conestoga College Student Success Week. At this time, all CSI Services will be closed.
  • Programming and service updates for the week of October 30th will be shared shortly as CSI learns more about the status of the potential faculty strike and the ongoing state at Conestoga College.

See below for various trusted resources from the stakeholders involved with the potential faculty strike.

Below you will find CSI’s original article from October 6th which outlines some frequently asked questions. Please keep an eye on conestogastudents.com and @CStudentInc on social media for more information.

Good afternoon, Condors.

As the possibility of a faculty strike approaches, CSI will continue to provide updates on the situation. Currently, OPSEU is in a legal strike position.

First possible strike date: October 16th, 2017

The union may choose to begin the strike at a later date than October 16th, 2017. Bargaining is ongoing and both sides are working towards a mutual resolution. It is everyone’s hope that a strike will be avoided and all parties are continuing to try to avoid a strike.

If a strike occurs:

  • College services (CSI Services, Rec Centre, Library, Health Services, etc) will continue to operate except for Counselling.
    • If Counselling services are needed, please use a community resource.
  • Leave extra time for travelling to the college as picket lines will be set up at campus entrances and will limit the flow of traffic.
    • Arriving early to avoid picket lines is recommended.
    • Students walking or biking to campus will not be affected.
  • GRT buses will be dropping off students outside of the campus to respect the picket lines.
  • eConestoga will still be available for student access.
  • Teachers will not be accessing eConestoga or their email.
  • Please be respectful of the picketers, they have the right to strike.

CSI will continue to work with both parties to ensure the impact on students is minimal and will post updates when available through social media and our website. Find CSI on social media @cstudentsinc or “Conestoga Students Inc” on Facebook.

Below you will find a series of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) presented by Conestoga College and OPSEU surrounding the potential faculty strike. It is important to note that Conestoga Students Inc. will continue to provide updates on the status of this situation as we learn more about it. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact your CSI President, Aimee Calma at acalma1@conestogac.on.ca.

FAQ’s presented by Conestoga College
Original source: https://goo.gl/hUN8UU

1. Will there be a strike?

The union will decide whether to take faculty out on strike. The earliest date that a strike could occur is October 15, 2017. The union must provide colleges with five days’ notice before they can legally strike..

2. What happens to my year if there is a strike?

Regardless of how events unfold, we will ensure that all students have the opportunity to complete the year. In the 50-year history of Ontario colleges, no student has ever lost a year because of a strike. Students should continue to focus on their studies. We will provide further updates as they become available.

3. Why can’t the colleges accept OPSEU’s positionsop?

The union’s proposals would eliminate thousands of faculty jobs, increase costs by $400 million annually, change the governance model and restrict the colleges from overseeing academic delivery.

4. What did the colleges offer include?

The colleges made an offer of settlement that included a 7.5% salary increase with a new maximum of $115,094, a lump sum payment, benefit enhancements and no concessions. The offer made was in line with other recent settlements by Ontario’s public service workers, teachers, and college support staff.

5. Why have you not given the faculty members a chance to vote on the offer?

The union is responsible for the collective bargaining process for their members. The union chose to reject the colleges’ offer without taking it to the members for a vote.

FAQ’s presented by OPSEU
Original source: https://goo.gl/gb8Czj

1. Are faculty going on strike?
Faculty are in the bargaining process with the College Employer Council. Our goal is a fair settlement that improves the quality of education for our students. The conciliator in the contract negotiations has confirmed October 15 at 12:01 a.m. as the time a legal strike or lockout could begin at all 24 public colleges in the province. A strike is only an option if management continues to refuse to discuss faculty concerns.

2. What do faculty want?
Faculty have tabled proposals to improve education quality for students and make work fairer for faculty, including contract faculty. We are calling for:

More full-time faculty to teach students.

This is the only way to ensure that students have access to professors inside and outside of class, that students have consistent professors who can act as job references, and that there is stability in our programs to better deliver learning to students. In the last decade, the number of students has gone up much faster than the number of full-time faculty.

Greater faculty and student input into academic decision-making.

We are calling for the creation of an “academic senate” that includes both student and faculty representatives. This would give faculty and students a defined role in making decisions around the education colleges deliver.

Enough counsellors for students

and an end to outsourcing of mental health services so that colleges can adequately meet the mental health needs of students.

Job security and better working conditions for contract faculty.

Currently, contract faculty need to reapply to teach every semester. They never know for sure if they will even have a job next semester.

“Equal pay for equal work” for contract faculty.

Contract faculty are not paid to prepare courses, correct assignments, or offer out-of-class support to students. Most of them have to work several part-time jobs to make ends meet. We want to ensure that contract faculty are fairly paid for the work they do.

3. What happens to my studies if there is a strike?
In the event of a strike, the college will develop a plan for students to complete their studies. In the colleges’ 50-year history, there have only been three strikes by faculty. Each lasted four weeks or less, and no students lost their academic year. Specific questions about the colleges’ plans should be directed to college administration.

4. Why did faculty vote for a strike?
Faculty did not vote for a strike; they voted to give their bargaining team a mandate to call a strike if necessary. No faculty member wants to strike. We would rather be in the classroom or working with students as counsellors and librarians, doing what we do best. A strike vote is a tool that is used in bargaining to let the employer know that we are serious about issues that need to be addressed. For example:

Faculty academic freedom and academic senates will improve the quality and status of college certificates, diplomas and degrees, giving students more options for future study in Canada and abroad. Senates will also include students in academic decision-making.
The exploitation of contract faculty is hurting the quality of college education. The faculty bargaining team is proposing a reasonable ratio of full-time to non-full-time faculty within the system.

Non-full-time faculty are skilled and committed, but their working conditions make it hard for them to do everything they would like for students:
o They don’t receive time for out-of-class student meetings.

o They don’t receive time for faculty meetings.

o They don’t receive enough time for student feedback on assignments.

o They are not given enough time to prepare their courses.

o They don’t know if they will have a job from semester to semester.

o They are often given courses at the last second, leaving no time to prepare.

o They have no job security, and can’t speak up to defend the quality of their courses for fear of losing their jobs.

5. Is it true that faculty are seeking a major pay increase?
No. This round of bargaining is not focused on bargaining a general wage increase – on this issue the employer and the union are not far apart. It is about improving the quality of the student experience and increasing fairness for faculty, including contract faculty.

6. Where can students get more information on faculty proposals?
To learn more, please visit collegefaculty.org/resources.

7. What can students do to support faculty?
Please visit our web site and sign our education quality petition at http://www.collegefaculty.org/petition. Then, contact your MPP through the “click to call” feature on our website at http://www.collegefaculty.org/call_mpp.

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