Striking faculty at Seneca College marched alongside labour leaders on Thursday afternoon as the work stoppage at Ontario colleges enters its fourth day.
The rally, which was organized by OPSEU Local 560, began at noon, at the corner of Pond Road and Ian MacDonald Blvd. on the campus of York University.
“The message is that we are currently on strike to make some changes that the Ontario college system needs in order to ensure academic quality and fairness,” OPSEU Local 560 President Jonathan Singer told CP24 on Thursday morning. “This is the 50th anniversary of our system. We are trying to make the changes that the system needs to prosper and thrive for the next 50 years.”
A large group of students and faculty could be seen marching on Keele Street on Thursday, blocking all lanes of the roadway for a period of time.
Faculty at Ontario’s 24 colleges walked off the job at 12:01 a.m. on Monday after contract negotiations broke off.
Negotiations have not resumed since the strike began and it remains unclear when the two sides might return to the table.
In the meantime, classes have been cancelled at all 24 Ontario colleges.
“So far management has refused to even entertain the demands that faculty has placed as primary and frankly essential to the continued quality of the education that we can provide,” Singer told CP24.
The union has said that it wants a 50/50 ratio between full-time faculty and contract faculty, increased job security, and more say in academic decision-making.
The chair of the College Employer Council, meanwhile, has called those demands “unaffordable” and has suggested that they will cost the college system an additional $250 million annually.
On Thursday afternoon, Humber College issued a statement saying they had cancelled their annual Take Your Kids to Work Day activities, slated for Nov. 1. The move indicates the college expects the strike to continue for a considerable period of time.
A second rally on Thursday afternoon targeted the downtown Toronto offices of the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education, demanding they intervene to end the strike.