Ontario’s 8,000 college support staff will be back at work Tuesday after a tentative agreement was reached late Sunday night between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the College Employer Council.
The 18-day strike caused dirty buildings, confusion over whether student loans would be delayed and long lines for cars trying to get through picket lines and onto campuses.
Rod Bemister, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team, said in a statement that the union secured key contract proposals. “Our position from the start of contract talks was that this round of negotiations would be about preserving the good jobs our members currently enjoy, while at the same time ensuring that good jobs will be in place for future college support staff. We believe we met those objectives,” said Bemister.
Brian Costantini, President of the College Student Alliance (CSA), warned over the weekend that “some students cannot afford another week without gaining access to specific support services—their semesters are now in jeopardy.” He said Police Foundations, Fire Fighting and Aviation students were at risk of losing their semesters if a resolution wasn’t reached quickly.
“We are very pleased that we reached a negotiated settlement. We look forward to welcoming all of our valued employees back to the colleges where we can again work together for the success of our students,” Gerry Barker, Chair of the Colleges’ Bargaining Team said in statement.
Maclean’s On Campus will provide details of the new agreement as soon as they’re available.