A potential strike at Georgian College would affect 11,000 students
Adam Ward and K.C. Colby, CTV Barrie
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 11:20AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 11, 2017 6:43PM EDT
As one educational strike comes to an end in Barrie, another is just starting to fester.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union said late Tuesday that a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 16 has been set. The strike would impact all 24 colleges in Ontario.
It would also mean that 11,000 full and part-time students at Georgian College would be left in a tight spot.
“I'm just thinking about how it would affect my plans to at the end of the year to fly back at the end of the year because I already bought my ticket to fly back to Brazil to visit my family during the Christmas holiday,” says Miguel Paternoster, an international student at the college.
J.P. Hornick, the chair of the OPSEU bargaining team, says the employer again refused to consider key issues in the ongoing dispute. They said the College Employer Council walked away from the bargaining table.
She says the goal of setting a strike deadline "is to get negotiations moving before it's too late." However, the council says it did not walk away from the table.
The Georgian College Student Association has been busy trying to answer many “what if” questions.
“Although there might be a strike, we don't know for sure yet and at this point all student services would remain open and unaffected,” says Avery Konda of the students association.
Those services include college libraries and financial aid offices.
“A student looking to figure out a problem with their loan will never have a problem having that answered,” says Konda.
The college has set up an online faculty contract update page to answer questions.
“The students should remember that no Ontario college student has ever lost a year as a result of a strike,” says Lori Bell, a spokesperson for the college. “We're committed to make sure they can complete their year.”
Things are just getting back to normal for Laurentian University students, who go to classes at Georgian College, after a strike by staff. A new labour deal was approved by the university's board of governors on Tuesday.
No new talks have been scheduled between the union and the council.
With files from The Canadian Press.