After more than five weeks of doing nothing to help resolve the strike at Ontario’s colleges, the Liberals now have the audacity to try to blame the NDP for preventing students from getting back to class.

“I’ve never heard such an outrageous bunch of hooey in my life,” says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn. “The Liberals have created this crisis in post secondary education by underfunding it year over year, and they’ve sat back and allowed the colleges to refuse to bargain with workers for the last two weeks, and now it’s the NDP’s fault – come on!”

“We should be celebrating the fact that at least one party has had the guts to stand up for workers constitutionally protected rights to free collective bargaining in the Ontario legislature,” says Hahn. “The Liberals like to talk about being a friend to working people, but when the chips are down, it’s workers and our rights that they throw under the bus to try and coverup their mishandling of this important strike. It’s shameful.”

In an employer forced vote this week, college faculty turned out in staggering numbers to reject the offer by 86% – a move strongly recommended by their bargaining committee. The workers have been fighting to improve the quality of education they provide.

More than 70% per cent of all college faculty are now part-time, which means most teach at multiple schools or hold down other jobs, leaving them unavailable when students need them outside classroom hours.  They are also forced to reapply for the same job every 4 months – the very definition of precarity.

“The government should be directing the Colleges to get back to the table to finally bargain a fair deal that respects the important work of college faculty and gets students back to learning,” says Hahn. “Back to work legislation is no solution. It violates worker’s fundamental rights and it completely let’s the Colleges off the hook for addressing the very real and significant problem the abuse of part-time teaching is having on the quality of education in our provinces colleges.”

CUPE Ontario stand proudly in solidarity with the brave OPSEU members that continue to walk the picket line and applauds the NDP for doing the right thing by standing up for workers rights in our legislature.