Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Striking College Faculty Begin Two-Day Vote on Latest Offer

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Striking College Faculty Begin Two-Day Vote on Latest Offer

Article excerpt

Striking college faculty vote on offer

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TORONTO - Faculty at Ontario's colleges who have been on strike for about a month began voting Tuesday on a contract offer, as a potential class action lawsuit was launched on behalf of students.

Some 12,000 Ontario college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians haven't been at work since Oct. 15, leaving hundreds of thousands of students out of class.

The College Employer Council asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote on the offer it has put on the table, accusing the Ontario Public Service Employees Union of misrepresenting it.

The union has recommended its members reject the offer.

In the meantime, the provincial government has ordered the colleges to create a fund -- using savings from the strike -- to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of the strike. Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews estimated Ontario's 24 colleges have saved about $5 million so far.

Matthews said she is "very, very concerned" about the students who are caught in the middle of a dispute that has "gone on way too long."

"I am extremely disappointed that the two sides have failed to reach an agreement," she said Tuesday. "I am extremely disappointed and students are paying the price. That's just not OK. That's not fair."

Matthews said the process of the vote must unfold, and back-to-work legislation is not yet on the table. …

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