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November 7, 2017 12:42 PM

Message to students from President John Tibbits

The province-wide faculty strike is now in its fourth week. We recognize that this is a difficult and frustrating situation for students, and are doing what we can to resolve the situation.

On Monday, November 6, the bargaining team representing Conestoga and the province’s other 23 colleges asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to intervene and allow the faculty to vote on the colleges’ contract offer. Although we would prefer to reach a negotiated settlement, we have exhausted all efforts at the bargaining table and see this as the only way forward at the present time.

The offer from the colleges addresses all the faculty priorities brought forward by the union. It includes:

  • Better access to full-time jobs
  • Increased pay for full-time and partial load faculty
  • Academic freedom
  • A new provincial task force to strengthen Ontario’s colleges and address the union’s concerns about staffing models and working conditions for contract faculty.

It will take some time for the Ontario Labour Relations Board to organize the vote. We have asked the faculty union to suspend the strike in the interim so that students and faculty can return to the classroom and resume the fall term.

The faculty union has refused our request to suspend the strike while we await a vote. As a result, full-time programming will remain on hold until the strike ends or is suspended.

The colleges will remain available to bargain with the faculty union and reach a negotiated settlement at any time before the faculty vote.

Conestoga remains committed to making sure that all students get the opportunity to continue and complete their semester. We are working on plans for semester completion that we will review with faculty and communicate with students when the strike is over.

Thank you for your continued patience in this very difficult situation. We will continue to provide updates through the college website as more information becomes available.

John Tibbits
President

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