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Canadore president says students are not bargaining chips

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Canadore College president and CEO George Burton says management is in a “holding pattern,” after day one of the faculty strike.

Burton says that students feeling as though they are bargaining chips in the work stoppage should try to remain patient, stressing that no Ontario college student has ever lost their entire scholastic year to a strike. He also suggests that there is one way to bring a quick resolution to the dispute.

The Canadore president says that the colleges are now waiting for the union to make its next move. At the same time, he also implies what that move should be. Management has been urging OPSEU to take the most recent offer from management to its membership for a vote since the news broke that the faculty would strike.

The rhetoric is intensifying already. Burton would not speak specifically to local faculty union representative John Patterson’s assertion that management dragged its feet throughout the summer months to bring the labour impasse into the school year, instead asserting that the colleges’ final offer should have made the strike avoidable.

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Burton says that a final offer from the union was “not within the realm of affordability from the college perspective.”

Main sticking points in the dispute are not strictly monetary, as the union is also pushing for less contracted work for teachers and more sway in decision making about academics at colleges.

Burton urges that safety must come first at all Canadore campuses as there will be an increase in pedestrian traffic between union members and those students forced to walk from arterial roads because the transit buses will not cross the picket lines.

He says that matters should remain civil because once an agreement is reached, both sides must come together for the students as a unified Canadore College.

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