Laurentian U staff may be headed to picket line, 'We're going to be seeking a strike mandate'
Published Monday, September 11, 2017 4:08PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 11, 2017 6:34PM EDT
Almost 400 full time teachers and professors and some 200 sessional instructors at Laurentian University could be headed for a strike.
They've been without a contract since June 30 and workers at the Sudbury based post-secondary institution have gone to a conciliator in their negotiations.
If there is a strike, it would come in mid-Semester.
According to the Laurentian University Faculty Association, they've struggled all summer to get the school's administration to the bargaining table.
Negotiations are scheduled for September 14 and 15. With an outside mediator joining the session on the second date, to help with the talks.
As it stands, school administrators have agreed to attend mediation sessions at the end of September.
"We want to avoid in any way, shape or form the possibility that students will be affected," said Alex Freedman Laurentian University, chief of staff.
"We have a good relationship with our faculty. We have a great deal of respect for all members of our faculty. This is just a matter of trying to get to a point of where we can make sure that everybody involved in this conversation comes away from this with a good arrangement."
"We're going to be seeking a strike mandate next week. We've called an AGM, at which time we'll be seeking a strike mandate. In that sense it's important and it's serious and that can affect the students, as much as we wouldn't want that to happen," said James Ketchen, Laurentian University Faculty Association president.
School administrators said this is part of a regular three year cycle where they negotiate a new collective agreement with faculty. Some students CTV spoke with expressed mixed emotions on the potential of a strike.
"I'm actually coming all the way from California, so coming to school here and getting all this prep done and constantly moving in and out of campus, it's kind of annoying because I want to get my degree and everything. If teachers are on strike, I won't be able to attend classes and get credits for graduating, so it's a little bit annoying," explained Alex Yates, a Laurentian University student
"We've had a few professors tell us not to worry so much. A strike could mean missing class which could mean potentially having trouble in exams or work or anything like that, but I'm not really concerned that much," added Kaillin Samuels, a Laurentian University student.
Notable issues on the table include salary structure, the way courses are delivered and work load support.