After failing to come to an agreement with the College Employer Council, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which includes Mohawk College staff, spearheaded a strike on Oct. 16.
In the wake of the strike, McMaster nursing, b. tech, medical and radiation sciences, specific social science classes, clinical placements and labs were suspended.
Areeba Anam, a second year medical and radiation sciences student, was hit particularly hard. All of her required courses, which are delivered by Mohawk College instructors, came to a halt.
Anam expresses concern over the possibility that clinical placements, which take place during the summer of second year, will not be offered.
“I am scared that, with this strike, I will not be taught adequately enough to prepare for my clinical placement,” said Anam. “We need to know a certain amount of anatomy and skills in order to succeed, and you obviously can’t have that when the staff is unable to teach.”
Moreover, Anam notes that Mohawk did not give her effective notice of the strike, as she found out about it via social media rather than email. The final confirmation email did not arrive until after midnight on Oct. 16.
“The stress of waiting to know whether I would be able to submit assignments and have tests was not great. The college really dropped the ball in that area,” said Anam.
As of the morning of Oct. 16, Shaq Murji, a first year b. tech student, was still unsure of whether or not his classes would continue.
“Apparently one of my classes is cancelled but my professor hasn’t mentioned anything so I’m just waiting to go there tonight and see if he comes or not,” said Murji.
Mohawk and McMaster students, however, will not be the only Hamilton individuals impacted by the strike.
The HSR transit terminal at the Fennell Mohawk campus will be closed, barring locals and non-striking Mohawk staff from stopping at the location.
Some GO bus routes have changed. In particular, routes 15 and 47 will now stop at the crosswalk on Cootes Drive and Cootes Drive Trail.
Should instructors picket around Main Street entrance, HSR bus routes may also be modified.
“McMaster is hopeful a negotiated settlement is reached between the colleges and union so that students are spared any impacts from a possible labour disruption,” read a statement released by the university.
Nevertheless, the duration of the OPSEU strike remains uncertain.