Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

October 18, 2007 16:38 ET

OPSEU Launches Largest Union Drive in Ontario History

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 18, 2007) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union will officially launch the largest union organizing drive in Ontario history tonight.

OPSEU, which currently represents over 16,000 full-time support and academic staff at 24 Ontario community colleges, is inviting more than 12,500 college part-timers and sessionals to sign union cards now.

"Our union is throwing its full support and resources into the drive to win union representation for college part-timers and sessionals," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU. "These workers have been exploited as a source of cheap labour for far too long. It's time they had access to the advantages collective bargaining offers."

The OPSEU drive follows a June 2007 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that collective bargaining is a protected right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under Ontario law, college part-timers and sessionals had been barred from unionizing. In August of this year, the McGuinty government announced its intention to extend bargaining rights to these workers.

Don Fraser, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council and a member of the United Steelworkers, will sign a membership card at the official launch tonight. Fraser, who teaches part-time in the Labour Studies program at Mohawk College, is one of several Mohawk part-timers who will sign an OPSEU card at the ceremony.

"We are seeing enthusiastic support for our organizing drive from right across the labour movement," said Roger Couvrette, president of the organization of part-timers and sessionals. "There is widespread recognition that this organizing drive, when it succeeds, will right an historic wrong."

Contact Information

    Roger Couvrette
    (416) 553-0769 (cell)