The Forgotten Majority

Unions, OPSEU, the CEC, Deadlines, and of course… The Strike. If you’re a follower of the news, these are headlines and key phrases that you’ve probably noticed in the paper and on social media over the past couple of weeks. Notice anything missing? Anything at all? Well let me help you out, It’s called the students. My description when talking about them is the Forgotten Majority.

So let me break it down for you;

OPSEU (Ontario Public Service Employee Union) and  the CEC (College Employer Council) were in negotiations. OPSEU proposed a new agreement, the CEC declined and blah blah blah. Now before you start sending in your hate about my anti-union views, there is no need. I AM PRO UNION.

My issue lies with the lack of consultation and consideration for the forgotten majority, the students. People often forget that there is an unwilling participant in this battle. As a result, the students and their education are the casualty.

While this labour dispute will eventually end and both sides will declare victory, I can’t help but feel for my fellow cohorts. When will the administration and the faculty consider our needs? As it currently stands they are looking out for their own interest. But have we forgotten that if there is no student then there is no need for them?

This is call out to all of my fellow students, now is the time to have your voices heard. Now is the time to do something. This is a battle that we didn’t choose, but if we must fight, fight we will.

I would implore all students, regardless of the institution, to have your voices heard. If there is a petition going around, sign it. If writing is your passion, write it. If your’re one to brave the cold, go to the picket line and remind the faculty of their obligation to us, then make your way in and let the administration know too.

It is time to redesign the Collective Bargaining process. We need to be inclusive of all of the parties involved, both willing and unwilling.

Sean Vanderklis
Student Number – Irrelevant

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2 Comments on “The Forgotten Majority

  1. I couldn’t disagree more. Faculty don’t have an “obligation” to you. This isn’t the public school system. You know who DOES have an obligation to you and all your fellow students? Your provincial government. The people who make the decisions about where tax dollars are going to go. The people who turn their back to the fact that the conditions of work for college faculty are downright medieval. Ontario’s post-secondary system runs on the slave labour of chronically underpaid, overworked teaching staff who are classed as “temporary” and “part-time” when they are anything but, so that the system won’t have to pay them fairly or give them benefits. This is a social justice issue, and the sooner college students wake up to the fact that this is YOUR issue, the better. Your government doesn’t think enough of you to invest properly in your education and your future. Don’t let them get away with it.

    • First off, thank you for taking the time to comment. The whole concept of is to create healthy dialogue and to hear all perspectives.

      While I can see your point of view, I feel like you may have missed mine. As a student, it has become more than apparent that the faculty is lacking. It is estimated that 70% of them are considered part time. There is also the issue of academic freedom on the faculty’s behalf.

      I want to make this unequivocally clear; I whole-heartedly stand with the teachers on this.

      However, I would be remised if I didn’t consider the position students find themselves in. You stated that there is no obligation to the students and while that might be true, to me, that is the problem.

      This isn’t a typical labour dispute where there are only two parties involved. In this case we have three parties; OPSEU, the CEC and the students. Basic math dictates that if there are any changes to either one of these parties; all of them will be affected. So if that is the case, why isn’t there equal consideration for all involved?

      Most colleges have a student union, were they consulted?

      Imagine if this were Dr’s striking. I can more than guarantee that there would be some contingency plan for the patients affected.

      To fully understand the strike, Canadians need to realize that the leaders of tomorrow are being drastically affected by the decision makers of today.

      Im not saying that they shouldn’t strike, all I am saying don’t forget the reason the CEC, and the faculty exists; the students

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