October 16, 2017 10:51 am
Updated: October 16, 2017 11:21 am

Mohawk College classes cancelled due to faculty strike

File photo. Classes are cancelled at Mohawk College due to a strike by college faculty.

Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press

Faculty at Mohawk College are on the picket line, along with their colleagues at 24 community colleges across Ontario.

Nearly all classes and programs at the institution have been put on hold.  The exceptions include online continuing education courses and collaborative degree courses taught by McMaster University faculty. (Those taught by Mohawk faculty are cancelled).

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READ MORE: Mohawk College braces for Monday strike by community college faculty

All testing and assignments have been cancelled, however, co-op placements that don’t require faculty supervision are going ahead.

“Mohawk is developing contingency plans so all students will have the opportunity to complete their semester once the strike ends,” Jay Robb, spokesperson for Mohawk College, said in a statement.

LISTEN: JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team, joins the Bill Kelly Show

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The three campuses are open and student services are available, but anyone wanting to enter may experience delays due to the picket lines.

More than 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians across the province are off the job after both sides failed to come to a tentative agreement before the strike deadline of 12:01 Monday.

READ MORE: Faculty at 24 Ontario colleges on strike

The Ontario Public Services Employees Union, which rejected the most recent proposal from the College Employer Council, presented its own offer on Saturday.

That proposal called for increased job security and the introduction of equal numbers of faculty and contract instructors, along with increased academic freedom for faculty.

“Unfortunately, council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,”  JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team, said in a statement. “This leaves us with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.”

The body that negotiates on behalf of 24 public colleges in Ontario, the College Employer Council, said the union’s demands would have cost nearly $250 million per year.  The colleges say the strike is “completely unnecessary.”

“We should have had a deal based on our final offer. It is comparable to, or better than, recent public-sector settlements with teachers, college support staff, hospital professionals, and Ontario public servants – most of which were negotiated by OPSEU,” said Sonia Del Missier, a spokeswoman for the council, said in a statement.

READ MORE: Ontario college union asked to put in extra hours to help avert strike

In a statement, OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas called for college management to return to bargaining to resolve the strike.

“Our union has a track record of getting deals done without work stoppages,” he said. “Unfortunately, that has not happened in this case. Nonetheless, I encourage the colleges to get back to the table so we can wrap this up swiftly, for the good of students and faculty alike.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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