98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Georgian College preparing for strike.

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Officials hope for a deal, but contingency plans are being worked on in Owen Sound.

With a strike deadline now set by the union representing faculty at Ontario colleges, contingency planning is underway by school administrators if picketing does commence next Monday.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) issued strike notice yesterday after rejecting the latest offer from the College Employer Council (CEC), which represents Ontario's 24 colleges, prompting CEC to walk away from the bargaining table.

A Georgian College spokesperson says about 1,000 students would be impacted in Owen Sound should OPSEU proceed with a strike.

Lori Bell, Human Resources and Organizational Development executive director at Georgian College, says a strike would see all full-time and part-time classes cancelled.

The one exception is Lakehead-Georgian classes taught by Lakehead faculty, which would be moved to Orillia’s Lakehead campus.

"It remains our hope that they reach a settlement and we're not in a strike position by Monday," says Bell. "If we are, we'll be ready with full communication and details available for all of our students."

More than 11,000 students attend Georgian College campuses in Barrie, Orillia, Owen Sound, Midland, Muskoka, South Georgian Bay and Orangeville.

She says college buildings will remain open and non-academic services will still be available for students, as support staff and administrators would be at work during a strike.

Bell says Georgian College has 590 unionized faculty across all campuses, 55 of those in Owen Sound.

The Owen Sound Georgian College campus offers a variety of study areas such as variety of study areas, such as: marine, business, hospitality and tourism, health, wellness and sciences.

In the event of lost classes due to an extended strike, Bell says Georgian College is committed to ensuring students complete their studies.

"No Ontario college student has ever lost a year as a result of a strike," she says.

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