BY REBECCA SOARES
If only adults knew how to behave. They often criticize kids for acting like children, but sometimes they are no better. A case in point – the college faculty strike. On Oct. 16, all across Ontario, college students’ education was put on hold while the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) fought for a better deal for part-time teachers. Students were told not to worry too much as previously the longest strike in Ontario history only lasted three weeks. But, unfortunately for the students, this strike ended up making history, and not in a good way. Three weeks came and went and so it was five weeks before the Ontario government stepped in and ordered faculty back to work. The strike created an environment similar to a pitch-black hole with people stuck within; everyone was confused, scared and wondering when they’d finally be let out.
While there’s a multitude of items we could focus on regarding the strike, such as students deserving a refund for missed time or how stressful the remaining time will be with such a large amount to learn in a shortened period, that will not be the focus. The focus will be on outdated labour tactics.
In a Nov. 14 Hamilton Spectator article, columnist Margaret Shkimba posed the question, “Why are we still resorting to 19th century labour tactics when we’re dealing with a 21st century labour environment?”
The tactics recently demonstrated by OPSEU and the College Employer Council were feeble at best. Why an arbitrator wasn’t brought in early on is beyond us.
Colleges across Ontario saved millions of dollars by not paying faculty but students are only being offered a pittance to help offset costs caused by the strike.
The moment teachers declined the final offer the government stepped in with legislation to send faculty back to work. The teachers did not get what they wanted and had to return to school anyway, making those five weeks completely useless. Management and unions shouldn’t be allowed to put the education system on hold but rather try and settle this while students are still getting an education. Their tactics are outdated and do not get them anywhere. Both sides need to learn to handle negotiations better and act like adults.
The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.