"These workers make a tiny fraction of the $300,000 she [Lise Bourgeois, college president] makes each year — yet she continues to use every trick in the book to try to keep them from having a voice.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Ottawa (22 March 2017) — After an organizer talking to contract faculty about joining a union was thrown off the La Cité Collégiale campus in Ottawa recently, union leaders joined her return to campus Friday to send a message to colleges choosing to ignore workers’ rights.
OPSEU/NUPGE won't be intimidated, committed to organizing contract faculty
The President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) commended contract faculty workers for their bravery in continuing to sign union cards by the thousands, despite resistance from college presidents. Flanked by the union organizer and elected leaders from the region, Thomas reiterated the union’s refusal to back down in the face of La Cité president’s attempts at intimidation.
“The right to join a union is a fundamental right all Canadians have,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The Premier knows that, the Minister knows that, and these college presidents know that. It’s guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
Well-paid college presidents try to stop low-wage workers from joining a union
“Unfortunately, we continue to see cases like right here at La Cité, where presidents like Lise Bourgeois continue to ignore those rights and attempt to prevent these workers from signing cards. These workers make a tiny fraction of the $300,000 she makes each year — yet she continues to use every trick in the book to try to keep them from having a voice.”
Despite that college presidents were reminded of workers’ right to organize last spring during the successful organizing drive by contract college support staff, Thomas says recent actions “suggest they’ve either forgotten, or are choosing to ignore, these fundamental rights.”
"Management resistance has only strengthened the union’s resolve," Thomas added, saying that “no matter how hard college presidents try to stop us, we’re not going to abandon these workers."
“Contract faculty deserve a voice, and they deserve better treatment than they’ve gotten so far from their employers. We’re going to make sure they get the fair treatment they deserve.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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