Students at the Concordia University of Edmonton are feeling the impacts of a strike by dozens of faculty there. The strike is entering its second week and students are worried about how long it could last.
Concordia student Gabby Keizer said she has been stuck at home with not much to do because of the strike.
“It’s left me kind of feeling empty and searching for something, so I end up looking for things online to look at like online classes ,” Concordia University student Gabby Keizer said.
She was supposed to start class last week but didn’t.
That’s because 82 full-time staff members walked off the job last week. Contract talks stalled because of disagreements over wages and workload, locking Keizer and many other students out class.
“During this limbo here it’s difficult,” she said. “We don’t know when we’re going back to school, we don’t know if we’re going back to school.”
Keizer said this job action is costing more that just her education.
“It has impacted my mental health. I enjoy being in school even if its online classes. It’s difficult to go without.”
She isn’t the only one. Deneen Schmidt has two children who are also students at Concordia. She said the strike has affected her whole family.
“Now that they are not allowed to be in school, their sense of achievement and purpose day to day is… well they don’t really have any: it’s on hold,” Schmidt said.
A set back the mother fears will delay her kids’ graduation.
“They have literally nothing to do at home. They can’t start a job full-time in case classes start up again. They are not able to register at another university because its already too late,” Schmidt said.
Keizer said with the strike already underway, she just hopes the faculty and school can just reach an agreement — and fast.
“It puts a lot of pressure on the student for what we should do,” Keizer said. “We don’t know what to do.”
To support those on the picket line in Edmonton, representatives of students, staff and faculty associations across Calgary declared their support for the ongoing job action Friday morning.
“They are trying to highlight the fact that they’ve been struggling like many of us have, to try to arrive to a new collective agreement,” Mount Royal University Faculty Association president Lee Easton said. “There’s a host of issues at play here: we have many of the same ones here (at MRU), so we’re here today to show that we support them,”
Faculty association representatives there said overworked and undervalued staff and professors have not had a wage increase for the past four years and because of that, many are leaving.
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