The Ontario colleges have gone on strike since October 16, 2017 after the negotiations between Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and management (College Employers Council) representatives failed. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is also backing this strike. College faculty members have begun their second week on the picket line with two key issues still not solved i.e. longer contracts for non-full time teachers, and the union asking for a 50/50 balance of part-time and full-time employees.
So what does this mean and whom does this strike impact?
There are three stakeholders involved in this scenario i.e. OPSEU, Council and Students. OPSEUs’ demand is focussed on job security and academic freedom for more than 12,000 faculty, including professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians. The Council’s view is that accepting the union’s demand would means $250 million in extra cost. Whereas the third stakeholder (students) has been deeply impacted with cancelled classes and has created an online petition with the hashtag #wepaytolearn — asking for their money back in the wake of a strike. The current scenario is within the control of the first two stakeholders i.e. OPSEU, Council. Whereas the students for no fault of theirs is caught in the midst with no options left except to find some other ways to complete their education.
So who is the true winner in this current whirlwind – OPSEU, Council or the Students?
The core stakeholders are students. Because of students, there are faculty members due to which colleges exist. Are the students being exploited where in fact they are the ones who is the source of income for the college? Should students be included at the bargaining table where decision are being taken which could affect the quality of their education?
Who is the winner in the end? What do you think?