The impacts of a strike on students’ classes, tuition fees

The Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa (APTPUO) has recently voted in favour of a strike mandate following unsuccessful negotiations for a new collective agreement with the U of O.

According to an Oct. 20 post on their Facebook page, 92 per cent of the association’s members showed support for a strike mandate after three days of voting. The vote comes after over 14 meetings with the U of O to come to a new agreement, following the expiry of a previous agreement on Aug. 31, 2016.

The post outlines that with this mandate, the association is “hopeful that it will be able to obtain a fair and equitable agreement (with the university).”

In an email to students on Oct. 20, David Graham, U of O vice-president academic and provost wrote that “two days of mediation (were) planned, on October 26 and 27. The two sides have also agreed to continue talks without a mediator October 28 and 29.”

Néomie Duval, manager of media relations for the U of O wrote in an email to the Fulcrum that the APTPUO “would be in a legal position to strike as of Oct. 30 at midnight,” should no agreement be made by that point between the association and the university.

What are the impacts that this strike could have on students at the U of O? Approximately 12,000 professors at colleges across Ontario went on strike on Monday, Oct. 16, and according to the Globe and Mail, it is “impossible to say” when this strike will end.

When professors go on strike, they are required to cease all communication with students. As part-time professors currently make up 50 per cent of all teaching staff at the U of O, this could mean that a large portion of the university’s student body would be out of classes indefinitely, which would put midterm exams and other assessments on hold.

The Globe also reports that students affected by the Ontario college strike currently will not receive any refunds for lost teaching time, though “tens of thousands of students have signed a petition asking for fee refunds of $40 for each day that the strike is on.” Should the APTPUO go on strike, this could similarly leave U of O students without financial compensation for lost hours of instruction.

According to Duval, the U of O administration is “committed to make all possible efforts to reach a tentative agreement before the deadline of October 30 at midnight.”

Duval noted that students will be be alerted about the strike via email during the weekend of Oct. 28-29.