Students and faculty rallied at Humber’s Lakeshore campus for the ongoing OPSEU strike on Friday.
Striking workers are hopeful that the demonstration is going to provoke talks among Ontario’s 24 colleges and their faculty, who walked off the job on Oct. 16 after contract talks fizzled.
“This gives me a lot of hope, that it puts pressure on the council, the college presidents and the provincial governments to come back to the table and negotiate on the key issues,” said JP Hornick, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team.
“Solidarity is truly inspiring. Members are not alone. They know the issues are important to the students as well as members of the community. I feel the government should be looking over their shoulder if they cross the show of support that is being shown,” said Myles Magner, the Regional Vice-President of OPSEU Region 5.
The boisterous crowd was entertained by the self-proclaimed “Socialist Vocalist” Mohammad Ali, as well as several theatre students, who waved signs such as ‘We Want Classes’ and ‘Support for Faculty’.
They also got up to delight the crowd with a chant to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You.
“I think that all the demands the union is asking for from the government are to benefit students,” said theatre major Kira Forde.
“They have all the right to strike. That is what is best for them and for us.”
Forde said one of those key components that she feels strongly about is academic freedom.
“I think it’s ridiculous that they are telling us how we should learn,” she said. “I’m learning modern dance. How is somebody who has never been taught modern dance going to tell me what I should be learning when they don’t know what modern dance is.”
Ali, who served as a student representative on councils at both George Brown College and Ryerson, suggested that the government should be on notice by the strong turnout, with the strike now going over a week.
With the rallies happening across the province, it puts pressure on the other side to get back to the bargaining table,” Ali said. “It gets the message out to both students and parents. It’s about strengthening college education and strengthening the college system.”