Support staff at Ontario's 24 community colleges ratified a new collective agreement today, averting a strike by more than 6,000 members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Toronto (23 Sept 2005) - Support staff at Ontario's 24 community colleges ratified a new collective agreement today, averting a strike by more than 6,000 members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
The workers voted 72 per cent in favour of the three-year deal. Voter turnout was 73 per cent. "Our message to management in this round of bargaining was that support staff contribute as much to the success of the colleges as faculty do," said Rod Bemister, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team. "Thanks to the support of our members, who gave us a strike mandate of 85 per cent, management heard our message loud and clear."
Highlights of the deal include:
- It's a three-year agreement, expiring Aug. 31, 2008
- A three per cent staged wage increase in each of the three years. Compounded, this represents a 9.4 per cent increase by the end of the contract.
- A recognition allowance of $400 per year for support staff with 10 years of service or more, about half the bargaining unit. For the average support worker this represents an additional wage increase of one per cent. This bonus is a first for support staff, a building block for future rounds of bargaining and acknowledges the importance of their work
- A drug benefits card.
- Withdrawal of the wages and benefits comparison letter.
- Improved time off for union business.
Members of the support staff group provide a wide range of services at the colleges, including information technology, maintenance, technical, early childhood education, and clerical support for student loans, library, registrar's office, accounting and others.