May 02, 2007 11:00 ET

OPSECAAT: Rampant Abuse of Part-Time Staff in College System is Detrimental to Education Quality

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 2, 2007) - The organization representing 17,000 part-time Ontario college employees has released a document showing a clear connection between the poor working conditions of its members and the decline of education quality in Ontario's colleges.

The Organization of Part-time and Sessional Employees of the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (OPSECAAT) released a 44-page document today, entitled "Compromising Quality." The document outlines, in the words and real-life on-the-job experiences of part-time academic and support staff, how the quality of education is linked to working conditions.

The government has not changed the law to allow part-time college workers in Ontario to organize and bargain collectively, despite an International Labour Organization ruling last fall.

"Because of an unjust law, the 24 colleges have ramped up on part-time workers, who now outnumber full-time employees at the colleges," said Roger Couvrette, president of OPSECAAT. "Ontario underfunds college education on my back, and on the backs of part-time workers who are singled out as a source of disposable cheap labour."

"Not only does the denial of bargaining rights hurt part-time college workers, but this document, Compromising Quality, shows that it also hurts the quality of education students receive in Ontario's community colleges," Couvrette said.

OPSECAAT was joined at the news conference by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, and Jesse Greener, Ontario chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. Rosario Marchese, MPP, who has proposed legislation to support collective bargaining for college part-timers, also attended.

The document is available in both English and French.

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