Strike by Ontario college workers to end

Sept. 19, 2011 at 2:43 PM
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TORONTO, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A strike by 8,000-plus community college employees in Ontario, Canada, appears about over with a tentative deal reached on a new contract, their union says.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union said in a statement the deal reached Sunday night after two days of negotiations must still be ratified by the unionized college workers before the 18-day strike can end. However, they are to return to their jobs Tuesday.

Details of the agreement were not released and no date had been set for the ratification vote.

"I applaud the tentative deal reached tonight by the negotiating teams," union President Warren "Smokey" Thomas said. "We said all along that a fair and just agreement was only possible when the two sides could sit across the bargaining table from each other and I'm pleased to report that was the case."

Rod Bemister, who led the union bargaining team, said key concerns of members are addressed by the deal. Union leaders are recommending the members approve it, he said.

"Our position from the start of contract talks was that this round of negotiations would be about preserving the good jobs our members currently enjoy, while at the same time ensuring that good jobs will be in place for future college support staff," Bemister said. "We believe we met those objectives."

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