Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

August 30, 2007 13:31 ET

OPSEU/OPSECAAT: Victory for Quality Education and Fairness: College Workers Rights Closer to Reality

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 30, 2007) - College workers across Ontario celebrated after a government announcement bringing rights for part-time workers a giant step nearer reality.

Colleges Minister Chris Bentley said today that the McGuinty government intended to recognize the rights of part-time college workers to bargain collectively.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), representing 15,000 full-time academic and support staff, and the Organization of Part-time and Sessional Employees of the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (OPSECAAT) welcomed this as a huge victory.

"College workers spoke out for education quality and fairness, and the government listened," OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. "This will benefit all workers in the colleges, and the students, by creating a better environment to both work and learn."

"We are going to take this as a promise by this government to improve education in Ontario," Thomas said.

OPSECAAT President Roger Couvrette said months of hard work by college workers across the province was coming to fruition. "My appreciation goes out to this government for recognizing the need to provide fairness for workers and quality education for students."

"This announcement comes because college workers worked hard and made it clear this was an issue of education quality in our colleges," Couvrette said.

Last year, the Geneva-based International Labour Organization ruled that Ontario's Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA) should be changed to allow part-time staff employed by the 24 Ontario colleges to join a union and engage in collective bargaining.

As well, in June 2007, a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that collective bargaining rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gave a boost to the workers' cause.

Ontario is the only province that bars most part-time including sessional staff in colleges from joining a union.

Contact Information

  • OPSEU Communications
    David Cox
    1-800-268-7376 x 8314
    Roger Couvrette
    (416) 553-0769