Conestoga students worry strike could affect studies

On Saturday, OPSEU, the union representing faculty at Ontario's 24 public colleges, put forward their final proposal to the Colleges Employement Council. However, both parties could not come to an agreement this past weekend.

770 faculty at all Conestoga locations on strike

Tuesday was the last day for students to withdraw from their college programs. Almost 1200 students at Conestoga withdrew from the college from Oct.16 to Tuesday. (Carmen Ponciano/ CBC)

Conestoga college students won't be in class to start the week as 770 faculty at all Conestoga College campuses are on strike.

The college will remain open during the strike. 

CBC spoke with some of the students who made their way to Conestoga College despite the strike. They said the reason why they came to school was to work on assignments and stay ahead of their studies.

"I was trying to catch up on my assignments," said Francis Yue Du, a second-year public relations student. 

"We are still supposed to be working on assignments and projects. However, if the strike is going on for more than two days, then we will probably be given extended deadlines, according to my professors."

Students also expressed concern over how the strike could affect their midterms this week.

"There are no teachers here so if I wanted to ask my professor something I wont be able to that. That's holding me back," said Hadeel Bahloul, a part-time office administration student.

"I feel it's unfair for the students because this will delay our assignments, our exams and everything. It's going to be a harder time for us to finish our assignments."

Conestoga Students Inc., the student association that represent all Conestoga students, was in talks with the union and college administration prior to the strike to make sure student services, like the library and recreation complex, remain open for students.

No agreement reached on the weekend 

On Saturday, OPSEU, the union representing faculty at Ontario's 24 public colleges, put forward their final proposal to the College Employment Council (CEC). 

However, both parties were not able to come to an agreement this past weekend. 

The proposal calls for the number of full time faculty to match the number of faculty members on contract, improvements in job security and for faculty to have a stronger voice in academic decision making.

"I'm not surprised," Conestoga President, John Tibbits told Craig Norris, host of The Morning Edition Monday morning.

"We are very disappointed and upset about this because we think there is an excellent offer on the table and there should be room to come up with an agreement."

Bob Carter, an OPSEU representative, said that the CEC did not welcome the union's final offer.

"Though we made a a final offer of our own which was a drastic move from the original demands that we had, the [CEC] refused to even look at it and did not come back to the table."

Faculty on strike were stopping vehicles at school entrances while handing out information and talking to the drivers.