'53% more full-time students, 22% fewer full-time faculty.'
Ottawa (7 March 2006) - National Union President James Clancy walked the picket line in solidarity with strikers Tuesday at Algonquin College in Ottawa, pledging his full support for 9,100 instructors across Ontario who began a legal walkout after more than six months of fruitless negotiations to win a fair contract.
The last time instructors walked out was 1989.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is Canada's second largest union, representing 340,000 workers in all parts of the country. The faculty members are represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union OPSEU), NUPGE's largest Component.
Clancy spoke with members picketing along the perimeter of the Woodroffe campus of Algonquin, one of 24 colleges across the province affected by the strike. He carried a sign that read, "53% more full-time students - 22% fewer full-time faculty."
|James Clancy with members of OPSEU Local 415 at Algonquin|
|James Clancy, president of the 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees|
"That's what this struggle is all about," Clancy said. "It's about quality education and the direction education policy is going in Ontario. The situation has changed enormously. The outcome of this dispute will affect every college student in the province."
Adam Millie, a student from Guelph, Ont., who is enrolled in Algonquin's law clerk program, agreed. He came out to show solidarity with the strike and to oppose a call by the College Student Alliance of Ontario for legislature members to legislate the teachers back to work.
"I completely disagree with the position they have taken. The student alliance doesn't speak for me and I know others who feel the same way," he said, handing out leaflets in the brisk sub-zero weather "I'm here to show my support for the instructors." NUPGE