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Strike vote date set

Jessica Ireland | Interrobang | News | January 11th, 2010

After months of negotiations, the Ontario Public Services Employees Union has set a union wide strike vote date for January 13.

Negotiations broke off on December 15 in Toronto.

“We had no alternative but to organize a strike vote as a sign of support and strength,” said Greg Hamara, OPSEU media relations.

OPSEU argues that throughout the many months of meetings, management has not been “negotiating in good faith,” said Hamara.

“We're not getting a reciprocal position from management.”

The vote this week is not to immediately go on strike, but to give the bargaining team the power to decide to do so if it reaches that point, he explained.

However, while OPSEU may be using the power to strike in order to leverage its position — naturally, not everyone is on board.

The Canadian Student Alliance has been vocal in their opposition towards another strike. They've developed a website and a postcard campaign that reached all faculty members mailboxes.

“We were optimistic at the beginning that both sides would come to an agreement,” said Justin Fox, president of the CSA. “I know they (the faculty) have their rights…but students are tired of being used as bargaining chips.”

The CSA has been urging both sides involved in negotiations to keep the students in mind, who will be losing their class time and their “investments into their programs,” added Fox.

But the vote to allow a possible strike may not result in one in the long run, said Paddy Musson of OPSEU Local 110.

“If you look in the past, 75 per cent of strike votes ending in settlement without strike,” she said. “Our interest is to get negotiations going, we're using this for bargaining. Students do not need to worry if faculty votes strike.”

“The sky's not going to fall.”
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