Georgian College students will find out on Thursday if they’ll be returning to class next week.
Starting Tuesday, the 12,000 unionized faculty members of colleges across Ontario will be voting on a deal put forward by the College Employer Council. This vote has been forced by the province after talks broke down between the council and faculty union representatives in early October. Faculty has been on strike since shutting down classrooms across the province. If over 50 per cent of faculty vote to approve this deal, students could be returning to class next week.
Georgian has put forward a tentative plan to make up for the lost class time by running classes until December 22nd, with students possible returning just over a week later. If the deal is turned down by faculty, the college officials will have to look at more ways to extend class times. Union officials have been urging faculty to reject the deal so they can return to the bargaining table. The vote closes on Thursday, with results expected to be announced that afternoon.
Last week, Advanced Education Minister Deb Mathews said all colleges would be putting together an emergency fund for students that may have financial issues because of this strike. The fund is being made up of the unpaid wages for faculty members on strike. No details on how the fund will be handed out have been released.