Students and administration at Fleming College watch contract negotiations closely

Sutherland Campus of Fleming College
Administrators and students are watching negotiations between colleges and teachers very closely. Steve Guthrie / CHEX News

Negotiations between the province’s 24 community colleges and the union representing 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians are ongoing. The current contract expires on Sept.30.

Thursday morning negotiation teams with the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union and the College Employer Council learned the conciliator had granted a no-board report to the union which means workers can strike, or their employer can lock them out, 16 days from now.

Fleming College president Tony Tilly says contingency plans are in place in case of a strike.

“We don’t like to emphasize those too much in advance because that sounds like the prediction of a strike,” said Tilly.

READ MORE: Ontario college faculty union holding strike vote Sept. 14

A strike would affect 220,000 college students across the province.

Joel Willett, the president of the Fleming College Student Administrative Council says students are urging the two sides to keep negotiating.

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“Students are concerned about losing valuable time in the classroom if the strike occurs,” said Willett.

READ MORE: St. Lawrence College president optimistic strike won’t happen

Tilly says they have been through strikes before and no student has ever lost a semester or lost a year due to labour disruptions.

The last strike by college teachers in Ontario was in March 2006 and lasted 18 days.

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