Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

February 19, 2009 10:21 ET

OPSEU: Ontario Colleges Refuse to Count Ballots in Historic Vote by Part-Time Faculty

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 19, 2009) - Despite a supervised vote by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Ontario's colleges are refusing to have the ballot boxes opened and the votes counted following a historic vote by part-time and sessional faculty members on whether to join a union.

"The fact that the vote was not automatically counted because of opposition by the colleges comes as a shock to the thousands who cast their ballots," said Roger Couvrette, president of the organization of part-time and sessional college workers (OPSECAAT), at a media conference today at Hamilton's Mohawk College.

"It was a democratic vote and it's time to count the ballots." said Couvrette. "It is really outrageous. In the last five weeks, the colleges themselves actively urged part-timers and sessionals to get out and vote, while their lawyers argued at the Labour Relations Board that the votes should not be counted."

In what was the largest union certification vote in Ontario history, part-time and sessional college faculty cast ballots from Jan. 19 through Feb. 5 on whether to join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). The Labour Relations Board ordered the vote last December after the union presented thousands of signed union cards to the Board.

According to Couvrette, the colleges are challenging who is eligible to vote, a matter that won't even begin to be discussed until all parties meet on March 31.

"It's a delaying tactic," said Couvrette. "After actively telling their employees to vote, you would think college presidents would stand up for the democratic process."

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says it's time for colleges minister John Milloy to put his foot down with the colleges. "In October, the McGuinty government changed the law to allow collective bargaining by part-time and sessional college faculty and we believe the results of the vote will prove that they want to exercise that right," Thomas said. "The colleges should quit wasting taxpayers' money on a fight they've already lost, and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities should tell them so in the plainest language possible."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Valerie Dugale
    (647) 225-3685 (cell)
    Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Roger Couvrette
    (416) 553-0769 (cell)