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Faculty strike impacts Concordia University of Edmonton students

Students at Concordia University in Edmonton are feeling the effects of a strike by dozens of faculty there. The strike is entering its second week and students are concerned about how long it might last.

Gabi Keizer, a student at Concordia, said she is stuck at home and has little to do because of the strike.

“It kind of left me feeling empty and searching for something, so I ended up looking for things online to look like online classes,” Concordia University student Gabe Kaiser said.

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Concordia University Edmonton faculty union on strike

She was supposed to start class last week but she didn’t.

That’s because 82 full-time employees left last week. Contract talks stalled due to disagreements over pay and workload, which resulted in Keizer and several other students being shut out of class.

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“During this oblivion here, it’s hard,” she said. “We don’t know when we’ll go back to school, we don’t know if we’ll go back to school.”


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Labor dispute leads to classroom suspensions at Concordia University in Edmonton


Labor dispute causes classes to stop at Concordia University in Edmonton – January 4, 2022

This work costs more than just her education, Keizer said.

“It has affected my mental health. I enjoy being in school even if her lessons are online. It is hard to go without her.”

She is not the only one. Denin Schmidt has two children who are students at Concordia. She said the strike affected her entire family.

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Concordia University Edmonton faculty union on strike

“Now that they’re not allowed to go to school, their sense of accomplishment and purpose day in and day out…well they don’t have anything: it’s hanging on,” Schmidt said.

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A setback that the mother fears will delay her children’s graduation.

“They literally have nothing to do at home. They can’t start a full-time job if classes start again. They are unable to enroll in another university because it is already too late,” Schmidt said.


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Concordia University Edmonton’s faculty union went on strike in frigid January


Concordia University Edmonton faculty union strikes in freezing cold January – January 4 2022

With the strike already underway, Keizer said, she only hopes the faculty and school can come to an agreement — and quickly.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the student for what we should be doing,” Kaiser said. “We don’t know what to do.”

To support those in the picket line in Edmonton, student representatives, staff and faculty associations across Calgary announced their support for the ongoing work at work Friday morning.

“They are trying to highlight the fact that they have been struggling, like many of us, to try and come up with a new collective agreement,” Easton, president of the Mount Royal University Faculty Association, told me. “There’s a set of issues at play here: We have many of the same issues here (at MRU), so we’re here today to show that we support them,”

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Representatives of the faculty unions there said that overworked and understated employees and professors have not received a pay increase over the past four years, and for that reason, many are leaving.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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