Student sit-in planned at Canadore College

Algonquin College strike action

While faculty members picket at the Loyalist College entrance on Wallbridge-Loyalist Road in Belleville, the college's student government has been organizing daily get-togethers as a way to boost student morale.

Some 500,000 college students in Ontario have been out of class since October 16 because of the strike.

So far, the two sides have not been able to reach a tentative agreement and last week, the council asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board if it could take its latest offer directly to striking faculty for a vote.

The faculty will be voting this week on the College Employer Council's latest offer.

College students were already starting to worrying after losing a few weeks of time in the classroom. Key issues are wages and job security for contract faculty, as well as more input in academic decisions.

"The union recently confirmed to faculty that major issues in bargaining had been resolved", wrote Jim Madder, in an open letter to faculty on Monday.

"The contract offer put forward by the College Employer Council on November 6 is a bad one for faculty - and the students we teach".

While none of this will likely satisfy anxious students, those concerned about the financial impact of the strike might be happy to be reminded that the province is creating something of a "hardship fund" for students adversely affected by the disruption.

Deb Matthews, Ontario's Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, has committed to personally work with the colleges and their enrolled students to develop what she called the, "parameters of the fund".

"We need to work out the details together and we will do it quickly".

According to Wendy Eckenswiler, a first-year student at Georgian College in Owen Sound and organizer of the local rally, students will flood hallways at college campuses across the province at noon on Thursday (Nov. 16). "I'm looking for the best ideas about how to make sure this reinvestment directly benefits students who have faced hardship".

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