10,000 part-timers at Ontario's 24 community colleges can opt for OPSEU as their voice at work.
Toronto (10 Sept. 2009) - Up to 10,000 part-time support staff at Ontario community colleges are eligible to cast ballots in a union representation vote to be held in October.
The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has ordered the vote to take place at locations across Ontario between Oct. 5 and Oct. 27. Full Details
“The colleges have treated part-timers as second-class workers for decades, with no benefits, no job security, and lower pay than full-timers,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
“It’s time part-timers had a strong union voice in the workplace so we can all work together to stop this unfair treatment. A strong yes vote next month will be a huge step forward for all part-time support staff,” Thomas says.
Having a voice in the workplace is key for people like Candy Lindsay, who has worked part-time at Fleming College in Peterborough for 11 years.
“I’m very excited about this vote,” adds Lindsay, who has been a driving force behind the part-timers’ organizing campaign since 2006.
“The way it is right now, you just go in to work and you do your job, but you can’t say much about the unfair treatment you’re experiencing. With a union like OPSEU, we’ll have a voice, and we’ll be able to sit down and negotiate with the colleges,” she said. “We’ll be in a legal framework where we can’t be ignored any longer.”
The vote represents a huge opportunity for more than 5,000 college student workers.
In 2008, the Ontario government changed the law that covers unions in the colleges. At that time, the government decided that all part-time support staff would bargain together as a group. This includes all part-timers working 24 hours or less. It also includes students in the Ontario Work Study Plan (OWSP) and other aid programs.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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