College students fear potential support staff strike

    TORONTO, Aug. 7 /CNW/ - Ontario college and college/university students
are encouraging both bargaining teams of the college support staff and
management to reach a new collective agreement before August 31st, says the
College Student Alliance (CSA).
    "We are quite concerned that both sides appear to be no closer to
reaching a new agreement," says Jenn Howarth, President of the College Student
Alliance. "With a new semester beginning in a matter of weeks; students from
across the province are anxious that a potential province-wide support staff
strike could affect start-up and impact the overall experience of starting a
new chapter in their life."
    Both sides have been bargaining since the Ontario Public Service
Employees Union (OPSEU) informed the College Compensation and Appointments
Council (the Council) of their intention to bargain in early 2008. The current
collective agreement expires on August 31, 2008. On July 16, 2008, 66.6 per
cent of support staff voted 68.8 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. Now,
whether or not there will be a province-wide strike rests in the hands of both
respective bargaining teams as they head back to the bargaining table on
August 12th.
    "The CSA is seriously worried that come the end of August students will
be crossing the picket line to enter their classes," adds Ms. Howarth. "Both
sides need to remember that college students are paying to receive a quality
postsecondary education and in today's ever-changing and highly competitive
workforce receiving that education in a timely manner is extremely important.
OPSEU and the Council must use the remaining days leading up to August 31st to
reach a fair agreement that works for all parties, including students."
    The College Student Alliance is a partner in postsecondary education and
has developed an information Web site to keep college and college/university
students informed and educated with up-to-date, accurate and unbiased
information related to the potential support staff strike.
    For more information, please visit

    The College Student Alliance (CSA) is an advocacy and services
organization which has been proudly serving Ontario's college students since
1967. The CSA currently represents 16 colleges and 23 student councils with
over 109,000 full-time student members throughout the province.

For further information:

For further information: Tyler Charlebois, Director of Advocacy, College
Student Alliance, (416) 340-1212, (416) 346-9951,;
Jenn Howarth, President, College Student Alliance, (705) 566-8101, ext. 7729,
(705) 521-4776,

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