OPSEU applies to represent part-time college support staff

“OPSEU/NUPGE wrote the book, literally, when it comes to wages and working conditions for full-time college support staff, but part-time staff at our community colleges have endured inferior wages and working conditions for too long." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Toronto (10 March 2016) — The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has filed an application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to become the bargaining agent for thousands of part-time support staff in the province’s community colleges.

Largest single certification application in Canadian history

The union delivered its application, with thousands of signed union cards, to the Board on March 7.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the largest single certification application in Canadian history,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President. “This application covers 24 colleges and more than 100 campuses in every corner of Ontario."

“Since we began signing union cards in September, our organizers have won the support of clerical staff, peer tutors, IT professionals, and workers in dozens of other jobs that make our colleges work,” he said. “We are honoured by the trust they have put in us.”

Part-time college workers face inferior wages and working conditions

OPSEU/NUPGE already represents more than 8,300 full-time support staff at the colleges, but an even larger number of workers hold non-unionized part-time jobs. Full-time and part-time staff must be in separate bargaining units under the rules set out in the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act.

“OPSEU/NUPGE wrote the book, literally, when it comes to wages and working conditions for full-time college support staff,” said Thomas, “but part-time staff at our community colleges have endured inferior wages and working conditions for too long.

“Representation by OPSEU/NUPGE is the first step in righting a major historical wrong.”

NUPGE 

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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