Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

June 10, 2008 16:59 ET

New Bill to Recognize Rights of College Part-Timers Comes With a High Price Tag: OPSEU

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 10, 2008) - The McGuinty government's long-awaited bill to recognize collective bargaining rights for part-time and sessional college workers comes with a high price tag, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

Today at Queen's Park, the government introduced changes to the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA) that will create a legal framework for more than 12,500 college workers to join a union and bargain for job improvements. But the bill also makes changes to the CCBA that will adversely affect collective bargaining for some 16,000 unionized full-timers. For example, the bill will eliminate provisions in the law that forbid the colleges from using scab labour during strikes or lockouts.

"It is pretty outrageous that this government thinks that recognizing the Charter rights of one group of workers means that another group of workers must give something up," said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Charter rights are not some kind of benefit to be paid for, they are rights, pure and simple. They cannot and must not be treated like just another bargaining chip."

Under the CCBA, college part-timers and sessionals have been legally barred from unionization since 1976. But a year ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that collective bargaining rights are protected rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In August 2007, the McGuinty government pledged to re-write the CCBA to recognize bargaining rights for part-timers and sessionals.

Since then, thousands of part-time and sessional workers have signed OPSEU union cards. The union applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to be certified as their bargaining unit in April 2008.

"College part-timers and sessionals are hungry to be union members and to take part in collective bargaining," said Thomas. "Make no mistake about it, we want this bill passed into law as soon as possible, and we are urging all parties to debate this in the Legislature and move on to committee hearings without unnecessary delay. But we are definitely looking for changes to be made."

Contact Information

  • Randy Robinson
    (416) 788-9134 (cell)