“For too long now, college presidents have been allowed to cash half-million-dollar salaries while squeezing these vulnerable workers for every cent they can." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (04 April 2017) — The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has filed an application to represent contract faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges, delivering thousands of cards to the Ontario Labour Relations Board on March 30.
Looking for fair treatment
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President, celebrated this milestone in one of the largest organizing drives in Canadian history, pointing out that these workers “have been seen as cheap labour by college presidents for far too long."
“It’s past time that the thousands of contract faculty we rely on to educate the next generation got the fair treatment they deserve,” said Thomas. “For too long now, college presidents have been allowed to cash half-million-dollar salaries while squeezing these vulnerable workers for every cent they can."
“With this filing, I’m happy to say we’re one step closer to bringing that shameful treatment to an end. We are close to bringing these workers home to OPSEU/NUPGE," Thomas said.
Colleges rely heavily on contract faculty, yet refuse to improve working conditions through unionization
RM Kennedy, chair of OPSEU’s College Academic Division, pointed out that the colleges’ increasing reliance on contract faculty has made addressing those workers’ dismal working conditions critically important.
“We’ve reached the point where 70 per cent of those teaching are underpaid contract faculty with no job security,” said Kennedy. “These faculty are given little time to prepare courses or meet with students, and yet time after time I see them go above and beyond what they’re paid for in order to help their students succeed."
“This has to end. These faculty deserve to be compensated for the time and energy they pour into educating tens of thousands of students each year," Kennedy said.
Colleges still fighting union certification of part-time support workers
OPSEU/NUPGE, which currently represents more than 20,000 faculty and support staff at Ontario’s 24 Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, also has an application underway to represent part-time college support workers. These workers cast ballots last June and continue to face legal delays on the part of their employer as they push to have their votes counted.
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