No new talks have yet been scheduled in a dispute between Ontario's colleges and their full-time faculty, a Thunder Bay union representative said Thursday morning.
And time is ticking away — the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Monday. If the union and the College Employer Council, which represents the colleges, can't agree to a new collective agreement by then, more than 12,000 full-time college faculty from 24 Ontario colleges will be on the picket line.
Local preparations underway
Rebecca Ward, president of OPSEU Local 732, which represents about 150 faculty members at Thunder Bay's Confederation College — part-time and sessional faculty aren't part of the bargaining unit — said Thursday that local staff are planning for a possible strike.
"We are busy getting headquarters established," Ward said Thursday, adding that includes setting up computers, printers and Internet connections. "We are organizing our picket lines."
"We will have five different picket lines — all around the college, and then out at [Confederation College's Aviation Centre of Excellence building], just off of Arthur Street."
Ward said the local is holding an information meeting with its members on Thursday evening.
Classes would be cancelled if strike occurs
The union has said outstanding issues include faculty contracts and the ratio of full-time to part-time faculty members.
Confederation College has said if a strike were to occur Monday, all classes would be cancelled, but other services — including the wellness centre, the children and family centre, and the cafeteria — would continue to operate.
In total, more than 12,000 full-time faculty from 24 Ontario colleges could be on strike Monday if a deal isn't reached.
The faculty's last contract expired at the end of September.