Students scrolling though Facebook on Oct.10 came across an unpleasant surprise.
Mohawk College, along with the other 23 Ontario colleges, is facing a strike deadline for Monday, Oct. 16. For the first time in 12 years a province-wide strike might take place.
Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) rejected the final offer from the bargaining team, which represented Ontario’s 24 colleges. According to the College Employer Council, the final bargaining offer included:
- A 7.75% salary increase over the duration of the contract
- New full-time faculty maximum salary of $115,378
- Improved conversion of contract faculty to full-time positions
- More faculty autonomy over personal workloads
Ignite News reached out to Mohawk College students and faculty for their thoughts on the possible strike.
A Mohawk professor, who wishes to stay anonymous, said his contract lies strictly with his students.
“It’s really sad,” he continued. “Across the system [all 24 colleges] under 20 per cent of all faculty are full-time, I think of my young colleagues whose opportunities and security of a full-time jobs are in jeopardy, that’s exploitive.”
Graphic design student Emily Bain is on the fence over the idea of a strike.
“I’m pretty much on the teachers’ side here,” said Bain. “I can say I’m pretty relieved to have a bit of time off, but if the strike goes longer than a week I’ll start to get angry. School isn’t cheap and I’d hate to lose out on classes due to the school and staff not coming to an agreement.”
Students who have placements off campus this semester worry about the impact the strike will have for them. For child and youth care student Jay Libing, this is what kept her up all last night.
“As a placement student I’m worrying about what’s going to happen when the strike is in full swing. I don’t know how I will get in touch with professors,” Libing said.
In a written statement Mohawk College President Ron McKerlie said: “[Students who are involved in] co-op work terms and field placements will continue. Continuing education classes and Ontario Learning will continue. ELearn will continue to be available for students.”
In a written response Jay Robb, Mohawk College’s director of communications, said: “We recognize this will be a frustrating time for students. Mohawk College will do our best to get answers to questions and keep students informed. Our focus right now is on making sure all students get the opportunity to complete their semester in the event of a strike.”
For the time being, classes will be in session for the remainder of the week. If the strike goes ahead, no classes will be held starting on Monday, Oct. 16.
For any questions, comments, or concerns students are encouraged to message: