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Stuck in the middle, students feel the sting of the strike

17 September 2011 No Comment

Students are keeping their fingers as strikers go back to the bargaining table. The Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU) has adjusted their demands, causing the mediator for the strike to pass the message to school management. This could possibly allow talks to continue as early as Sept. 17.

The main sticking point in this strike is the three per cent wage increase, and job security that the union is asking for.

“By modifying our demands on wages and retiree benefits, we demonstrated our commitment to the bargaining process and the students to return to contract talks,’ says Rod Bemister, Chair of the Bargaining Team for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

In the mean time, students are having to go without services that the school provides, and should expect longer wait times when trying to access any service the support staff offers. Along with classrooms that are still under construction and the lack of wireless internet, students are also facing up to 45 minute wait times to get into the bookstore or register for classes. There are also wait times to get onto the school’s property as picketers block the entrances.

“I now have to be dropped off across the street because of the long lines getting into the campus,” says Kyle Millar, a civil engineering student. “This means I’m either late for class or I have to be dropped off really early.”

Some programs are feeling the effects more than others. Those in any of the broadcasting programs are facing difficulties in renting out camera equipment, and technology students are feeling the affects of an Internet-less environment.

Dylan Evans, a student in the architecture technology program, says that he “hates that there is no Wi-Fi since it’s required to finish [his] work.”

Students have been advised to take public transit to school in order to avoid the picket line, and to give themselves extra time when looking to use any service or equipment that the school supplies.

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