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First day of classes at Dawson College dimmed by possibility of strikes

WATCH ABOVE: Not everyone is heading back to school with open arms. The teacher unions at Dawson College are getting ready to launch pressure tactics unless they’re heard. Felicia Parrillo reports.

MONTREAL – For the 11,000 students who attend Dawson College, the first day of a new semester can be exciting.

“I’m actually excited because I have some new classes that I’m looking forward to, especially gym class,” said second-year student, Julio Castillo.

More than a good gym class, students are happy to be reunited with their friends.

“It’s nice to be back, the summer was long,” said Eliott Goussanou.

“It’s nice to be back, to be with my friends, start going out with them and seeing them at school.”

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Richard Filion, the college’s Director General said he arrived at the school at 7:30 a.m. Monday, and was surprised to see that the school was filled with a lot of energy – a new semester buzz.

“I think I can say that most of our employees are pretty happy to be back at work and to welcome this amazing crowd of young new students,” he said.

But not all of the employees are returning to school with open arms.

Gabriel Tordjman, external VP of Dawson’s teacher’s union confirmed that Dawson, in alliance with other CEGEPs represented by the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), are getting ready to launch pressure tactics in about 10 days.

Tordjman said there has been very little progress at the negotiation table and there are still huge differences and a very wide gap between what teachers are asking for and what is being offered.

“Here at Dawson, we are especially concerned about non-permanent teachers,” said Tordjman.

“There are also huge differences in wages.”

For the moment, the teacher’s union does not expect to interfere with classes, but Tordjman said the union will ask their members to vote on a strike mandate.

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“When you get the kind of offers that we’ve had, with people struggling and have been struggling for a long time, I would say there’s a possibility of a strike,” he told Global News.

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