Students enrolled in joint programs at UTSC with Centennial College and UTM with Sheridan College have their college classes cancelled on Monday, October 16 as faculty go on strike indefinitely.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) represents 12,000 faculty members at colleges across the province, including those working at Centennial and Sheridan colleges. Following failed negotiations between the union and the bargaining teams of the 24 colleges where the faculty work, OPSEU 556 set a strike date for 12:01am on October 16.
OPSEU works to ensure fair say for its 12,000 faculty members. Key proposals include having an even ratio of full-time to contract faculty, increased job security for partial load faculty, and academic freedom that will give faculty a stronger voice in academic decisions.
Faculty from three joint programs at Centennial College — Paramedicine, Journalism, and New Media Studies — are going on strike. There are 170 students enrolled in these programs, however, less than half will be affected by the strike as they are currently at UTSC and not Centennial College, according to Mark Toljagic, Communications Officer at Centennial College.
At UTM, there are about 1,000 students enrolled in joint UTM–Sheridan College programs, including those in the Communication, Culture, Information Technology program, as well as the Art and Art History, and Theatre and Drama Studies program.
Centennial College libraries, athletic facilities and child care centres, among other basic amenities, will continue to function normally despite daytime classes being cancelled. As well, all students have been supplied with information on properly crossing picket lines if the event were to arise on campus.
At Sheridan, there are similar plans to keep services open, with all non-faculty based operations, such as the student health centre and food services, still for open for students at the college.
UTM has also posted an FAQ page specifically for students in the Sheridan College-UTM joint programs that will be updated as more information about the ongoing strike becomes available.