Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

January 31, 2007 11:05 ET

OPSEU and OPSECAAT-College Workers Ask McGuinty to Change Law and End Exploitation of Part-Timers: Massive Card-Signing Drive Launched

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 31, 2007) - Part-time and sessional workers in Ontario's 24 community colleges are calling on Premier McGuinty to implement a recent resolution of the International Labour Organization and allow them to unionize and bargain collectively.

In one of the largest labour recruitment drives in recent Canadian history, the workers have launched a card-signing campaign to organize the 17,000 part-time faculty and support staff in the colleges.

Current Ontario law excludes college part-timers from collective bargaining. Some job protections under the Employment Standards Act such as statutory holiday pay, and vacation pay also don't apply to college employees.

Part-time college workers formed the Organization of Part-time and Sessional Employees of the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (OPSECAAT) last November, just after the ILO ruled these workers should have the right to unionize and bargain collectively 'as any other workers.'

OPSECAAT has collected more than 11,000 postcards and petitions in support of their demand. Since the ILO decision more than 1,000 e-mails have been sent to the Liberal government from 27 countries around the world.

"The situation in our colleges today, where part-timers outnumber full-timers, robs workers of their dignity and robs students of a quality education," said Roger Couvrette, president of OPSECAAT.

OPSEU President Leah Casselman, representing full-time faculty and support staff, said McGuinty could right this wrong with one stroke of a pen. "We're asking the Premier to stop the exploitation of these workers now," she said.

Contact Information

    Roger Couvrette
    (613) 878-2250
    David Cox
    OPSEU Communications
    1-800-268-7376 x 8314
    Website: www.opseu.org