With Ontario’s college students heading back to the classrooms, the crisis arising from the work stoppage is over. But an important question remains about what happens next time there’s a contract dispute between the colleges and their faculty members.
The collective bargaining process usually creates a balance between management and employees. For every day of a strike or lockout, the business loses money and the employees forgo pay. It can be an inconvenience to customers, but in most cases, they can buy their products elsewhere.
But for the past five weeks, students have been dramatically affected, unable to get the education they paid for. And it’s not like they can go to a competitor for the same service. And the colleges actually saved money during the strike, so there wasn’t much of a financial incentive for them to settle. The province was right to end the dispute, but another step is needed to ensure fairness for students in the future. We can’t let the careers and lives of young people get caught in the middle while management and employees fight over a contract.