Full-time and partial-load faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges began strike action at 12:01 a.m. today (Monday, Oct. 16). Striking faculty, represented by Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), are calling for more job security for partial-load teachers and a role in academic governance at the colleges.

These issues are not unlike the ones that young media workers in Canada will face as they continue their careers: full-time permanent positions are becoming increasingly rare, while employers opt to hire precarious contract workers.

The CWA Canada Associate Members Steering Committee asks that student union members show solidarity with striking faculty members and do their best to avoid crossing picket lines. Students with questions for college administration can email or call their school registrar’s, rather than visiting any campus in-person.

If picket lines must be crossed, however, please note that there are other ways students can support faculty during this work stoppage:

  • Supporting striking faculty

Students can demonstrate solidarity by joining their instructors on the picket lines, or at least speaking with union members on the picket line before crossing. Students can also bring signs of support to the picket line, or volunteer to hand out leaflets on the line.

  • Talk about the issues the union is fighting for

Students can speak with striking faculty members about the issues raised at the bargaining table, and can share information about these issues and the necessity for quality education and good jobs, with your friends and family. Students can also learn about the issues college faculty members are fighting for on the union website.

  • Send a letter of support to the College Employer Council

Students can send a letter of support to all 24 Ontario college Presidents, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, acknowledging that you stand with faculty and support a fair collective agreement for college faculty. Send an automated letter here.

We understand that a work stoppage in the middle of the semester is a stressful situation for all involved - faculty on the picket line, college administration staff, and especially, for students. It’s important to remember that a strong strike and stronger picket lines will likely lead to a fair deal being reached sooner rather than later, so students and faculty alike can return to the classrooms and normal routines. Students can stay tuned for further updates from OPSEU here.

CWA Canada Associate Members are 1,000 students, young and emerging media workers across the country. The voluntary, free union membership program offers supports including networking, mentorship, and advocacy to help Canada’s emerging media workers build sustainable careers in the Canadian media.

Please contact the Associate Members program coordinator with any questions or for more information:

Kayla Perry