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Ontario college teachers back strike action by 68% margin

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Fleming College in Peterborough, Ont. CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA NETWORK file photo

Fleming College in Peterborough, Ont. CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA NETWORK file photo

The union representing faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges, including Fleming College in Peterborough, says they have voted in favour of a strike mandate should upcoming contract talks fail to result in a new agreement.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says 68 per cent of its members voted in favour of a strike mandate ahead of collective bargaining scheduled to resume next week.

The current contract agreement for 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians expires on Sept. 30.

No strike or lockout deadline has been set.

OPSEU says key issues in the talks include the role of faculty in academic decision-making and fair treatment for contract faculty.

Union bargaining team chair J.P. Hornick says in a release that the College Employer Council has so far ignored all 16 proposals “to improve the quality and fairness of the college system in Ontario.”

“Hopefully this strike vote will be the incentive the colleges need to start negotiating for real,” Hornick said.

The union says 81 per cent of college teaching is done by contract faculty, who have no job security and are paid significantly less than full-time permanent faculty.

Support staff at the 24 colleges ratified a four-year contract extension late last month.

The colleges teach about 220,000 students across Ontario.