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Mohawk fills the gaps as support staff walks the line

17 September 2011 No Comment


It goes without saying – the support staff on strike has posed a unique set of challenges for Mohawk College.   With the theoretical ball being left behind by the strikers, part-time and administrative staff have teamed up with students to keep the game in play.

Some big names in the college have been found helping out wherever possible.

“I even saw [Mohawk College] President Rob MacIsaac [helping out] in the OSAP office one of the days,” said Andy Hall, MSA’s Vice President.

Meanwhile over in The Square, Jay Robb, Director of Media Relations for Mohawk College, could be found on his feet helping out service-needing students.

“Right up to the eleventh hour, our hope and belief was that a settlement would be reached and a strike would be avoided,” said Robb. “The committee was committed to maintaining essential services.”

Robb feels those services have been sustained by part-time and administrative staff.  The Mohawk Students’ Association was there for the assist, using their board members to substitute positions left open in the OSAP office.

Many students were frustrated with the delays in the OSAP release centre. Some even received free coffee during the first week as they waited in line.

“We’ll be helping for as long as we’re needed and have the time to do so,” Hall said.

He also gave a nod to upper management, saying they “have really been stepping up” in running The Square and the OSAP release room.  Robb returned the praise to the students.

“Students have been outstanding in terms of their patience and understanding,” Robb said. “There have been long lines to access services, however, every student who has needed help has gotten it.  Students are now settling in for what will be a great year at Mohawk.  We’ve also been grateful for students who’ve respected the picket lines and the right of our support staff to strike.”

Position reassignment and the plans made by management in the summer have allowed Mohawk to continue services without experiencing any significant costs and disruption.  However, the same can’t be said for the support staff.

“My understanding is that support staff has lost 3.8 per cent of their annual salary since the strike began,” said Robb.  “We miss our support staff colleagues; it’s not how we wanted to start the year, but everyone’s working together to make the best of a challenging situation.”

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