The chants were loud and clear at a rally today in Sudbury, as hundreds of striking faculty members left their picket lines at college Boreal and Cambrian college and rallied outside the office of Sudbury MPP, Glenn Thibeault.
It was a call for the 4-week the strike to end, and for the government to send the college employer council back to the bargaining table.
Faculty members say a big outstanding issue is the seeking of more autonomy in the classroom.
"Right now we don't even get to decide what kind of evaluations we use, what kind of textbooks we use. administrators who have never spent any time in the classroom get those decisions." said David Fasciano of the College Boreal faculty.
Another issue is the number of contract teaching positions and how it compares to full time jobs. The union wants a 50-50 ratio.
“Too many employees or faculties are part-time. They're living basically on starvation wages and there's no job security for them." said Gerry Lamoi, a professor at Cambrian College.
Faculty members have been ordered by the province to vote next week on the last offer from Ontario's colleges. The union is urging members to turn it down.
Regardless of the outcome, administrators at Cambrian college have a contingency plan in place for a resumption of classes.
Cambrian’s Manager of Communications, Dan Lessard, says there’s a plan. "We will be extending classes further into December, and then what we're going to do is pick up the semester in January for a couple of weeks. Once that's done, they'll be a little bit of a break and then we'll start with the winter semester, the January semester. We're also looking at doing things like cancelling the spring break, the March break and instead adding a day onto the family day long weekend so that we can have more class time.” said Lessard.
Krystle Breau is a nursing student at Cambrian College, and is feeling the stress of potentially not graduating on time. "We are the future nurses and you're taking away the most critical part of our faculty education, is getting in there with patients and learning how to do things with our clinical teachers and we're sitting at home doing nothing." said Breau.
Students from Cambrian and College Boreal are banding together to stage their own rally on Friday.