Faculty at Ontario's colleges who have been on strike for about a month began voting Tuesday on a contract offer, as a potential class action lawsuit was launched on behalf of students.
College faculty have been voting online and by telephone on the final offer, which representatives from the College Employer Council said addressed numerous concerns brought forth by members of the striking faculty and the OPSEU.
The colleges were informed of the results just after voting ended at 10 a.m.by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
The strike action, which began on October 15, is now the longest in the history of the province.
Talking with students on campus, Bard has discovered the strike has impacted their mental health, with many feeling stressed, others suffering from insomnia.
"Ontario college faculty have exercised their democratic right and by rejecting the offer have chosen to continue to strike", she said in a statement.
While students affected by the strike remain in educational limbo until the vote results are announced, some will receive a bit of relief to their wallets.
OPSEU had called on its membership to reject the offer, stating that the offer did not appropriately address two of the major issues that membership were concerned about: academic freedom for faculty and "precarious work", meaning the increase in part-time, partial-load, contract faculty positions.
Talks between the colleges and the union broke down on November 4 prompting a request for the final offer vote. Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews estimated Ontario's 24 colleges have saved about $5 million so far.
"The Colleges bargaining team is in touch with the mediator for a resumption of bargaining", said Rick Webb, Sault College human resources and corporate communications director, speaking to SooToday.
The school said at this point it's unknown when the strike will end or whether the provincial government will intervene.
"As matters stand, students may lose an entire semester without being refunded their tuition and fees, or students may be required to repeat courses or take extended programs into the new year", reads information posted online.