“This has been the biggest organizing drive in Canadian history,” Thomas said. “I’m calling on the colleges, and the Premier, to recognize the deep desire of thousands of Ontarians to have their voices heard, and to cooperate with us to schedule this historic vote.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (01 June 2016) — The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is asking the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote this June that would allow thousands of part-time workers to unionize.
OPSEU/NUPGE applied on May 31 to represent part-time support staff at all 24 public community colleges around the province.
OPSEU/NUPGE defends rights of precarious workers with union application
“At a time of growing concern about precarious work, our application today offers hope to thousands of precarious workers,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President. “In the course of this organizing drive, we’ve talked to workers who’ve been paid with gift cards instead of money. We’ve met people who have been doing the same job for eight years but still can’t get a sick day. College part-timers have no job security, and they seldom get the same wages as full-timers doing the same work.
“Part-time support staff at the colleges are now just one step away from being able to negotiate for fair wages and working conditions,” he said. “It’s a very exciting day.”
Urban Worker Project urges provincial government to make unionization easier
Andrew Cash, co-founder of the Urban Worker Project, called today’s union application “a major step forward in the battle against precarious work” and called on the colleges and the provincial government to make unionization easier for all workers.
“Through the Changing Workplaces Review, the province has very clearly signaled that it is concerned about job quality for people in part-time and temporary work,” said Cash. “Today’s application is a reminder that greater rates of union membership and collective bargaining mean more stable jobs and better lives for all workers.”
OPSEU/NUPGE's biggest organizing drive in Canadian history
“This has been the biggest organizing drive in Canadian history,” Thomas said. “Since we started last September, the number of part-timers we’ve signed up is comparable to the population of Goderich, or Renfrew, or Fort Frances.
“I’m calling on the colleges, and the Premier, to recognize the deep desire of thousands of Ontarians to have their voices heard, and to cooperate with us to schedule this historic vote.”
OPSEU/NUPGE currently represents more than 21,000 full-time support and academic staff at the colleges.
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