Algonquin College instructors, students sound off as strike enters 5th week

As the Ontario college strike enters its fifth week, instructors and students at Algonquin College both say they just want to get back to class.

Pickets suggest 9 in 10 college workers will reject employers' latest deal

Pickets march near the entrance to Algonquin College on Tuesday, as the Ontario college strike enters its fifth week. Several instructors said they are confident that workers will overwhelmingly reject their employers' latest offer. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

As the Ontario college strike enters its fifth week, instructors and students at Algonquin College both say they just want to get back to class.

Faculty members across the province began voting earlier today on their employer's latest contract offer.

Pickets at Algonquin College say they're confident the deal will be defeated, forcing both parties back to the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, students are just as eager to get back to class, hoping they can salvage what's left of their semester.

Korey Glover, journalism student

"These past five weeks have been full of anger, anxiety and a lot of boredom, because we're basically just sitting at home waiting for any kind of answer from our president or our teachers.

Get us back in the classroom. I don't care how you do it. My whole attitude to this semester is, 'Let's just get this over with.' Nobody is enjoying themselves."

Julie McCann, journalism instructor

"There's a bit of fear, right? It's not like we've been away for a month on vacation where you know when the end was going to be there and you'd come back refreshed and ready to hit the ground at a full sprint.

All this anxiety and worry has been tiring. ... There's some definite enthusiasm to be reunited, of course, but also some fear about how we're going to do this."

Daniel Anderson, electrical engineering professor

"We've gone through a lot of pain to reach the stage we're at right now. We've sacrificed our time, we've also sacrificed our wages, and we're committed to ensuring that we can provide a quality education for our students. I don't think the colleges are committed to providing quality education."

Melissa Buck, law clerk student

"I can totally understand why they're striking. I understand that, but as a student, it's hard to see that they have our best interests at heart when we're not even in the classrooms."

Asfrah Syed-Emond​, law clerk instructor

"There's a lot of solidarity out here. We spend four hours a day talking and discussing the issues that matter. We love and care about our students. We want to get them back in the classroom. I think that part we can agree on with the employer. However, the council for that employer has to get back to the table."

Photos by Marc-André Cossette