Ontario college teachers begin strike

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006

All across the Canadian province of Ontario, college teachers have gone on strike, leaving more than 150,000 students in 24 colleges without classes.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union rejected the final offer from college management, after negotiations at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto.

This strike comes just a month before many student's scheduled graduations. If courses are extended into the summer, to compensate for lost school time, students' ability to maintain jobs to pay for their education would be severely limited.

“A prolonged strike would not only affect college students, but also have a ripple affect on the Ontario economy and workforce. Potential employers are expecting 44,000 new graduates and 100,000 returning students to enter the workforce this May, families have made summer plans, and some seasonal businesses may experience a significant loss if the school year does not finish on time,” says Tyler Charlebois, Director of Advocacy for the College Student Alliance. “I hope for the sake of Ontario, the provincial government takes this situation as seriously as we are and takes action as necessary.”

OPSEU was asking for more teachers, smaller classes, and more faculty time for students. A strike vote was 80.4% in favour of action. Humber had the least support for the strike, with only 67.0%, followed by St. Lawrence with 67.7%. St. Clair, Boréal, Centennial, and Sault all had more than 90% support.

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