Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

March 05, 2008 09:13 ET

OPSEU Organizing Drive Swings into Windsor

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 5, 2008) - The largest union organizing drive in the history of Ontario swung into Windsor today as OPSEU stepped up its drive to organize more than 12,500 part-time and sessional college employees, including hundreds of faculty and support staff at St. Clair College.

OPSEU campaigners Roger Couvrette and Candy Lindsay arrived in Windsor today as part of their province-wide tour on OPSEU's blue union "It's Time!" organizing bus.

"Since the launch of our campaign last October we are meeting each and every one of our goals in signing up part-time and sessional employees at 24 Ontario community colleges," said Couvrette. "We will be doing everything necessary to be recognized as the bargaining agent for these workers as soon as possible."

The largest union drive in Ontario history became possible in June 2007 when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that collective bargaining is a protected right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In August 2007, the McGuinty government announced its intention to recognize bargaining rights for those workers.

Ontario's complex Colleges Collective Bargaining Act had excluded part-time and sessional workers from union membership. The Supreme Court ruling nullified that exclusion, OPSEU says.

Couvrette, president of the provincial organization of part-timers and sessionals, says unionization will have a "positive and noticeable" effect on the quality of education all colleges deliver.

"Dramatically substandard wages and working conditions for part-timers and sessionals are causing a crisis of retention and recruitment for the colleges," Couvrette said. "Part-time faculty and support staff come in to the college, scramble to get up to speed, get discouraged by the poor treatment, and leave. When good employees walk out the door, it's the students who suffer."

Couvrette and Lindsay's tour of St. Clair College will begin when they meet the media at a news conference at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Talbot Road Campus.

Speedy recognition of bargaining rights for college part-timers and sessionals should not be a problem, Couvrette said, as all parties with an interest in the college system have voiced their support for it - the workers, the McGuinty government, the colleges themselves, and (most recently) the government's advisor on the issue, Kevin Whitaker.

As we sign up more and more workers, part-time and sessional employees at Ontario's colleges are showing their strong desire for our union to represent them," said Couvrette. "In our view, that's the only thing that matters. After that, collective bargaining should begin right away."


Contact Information

    Roger Couvrette
    (416) 553-0769 (cell)
    David Cox
    (416) 443-8888 ext.8314 or (416) 788-9197 (cell)