Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

January 23, 2008 09:57 ET

OPSEU Praises Fleming College for "Professional Approach" to Organizing Drive

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 23, 2008) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is praising management at Fleming College for taking a "professional approach" to a large-scale union organizing drive taking place on the college campus.

"Unlike at some colleges, Fleming has taken a very professional approach to our campaign to organize part-time and sessional employees," said Betty Cree, president of OPSEU Local 351 at the college. "Fleming has not tried to interfere with the organizing drive or throw obstacles in our way, and we appreciate that a lot."

Cree said the college's attitude to the organizing drive is typical of its approach to labour relations generally.

"Fleming is an employer that tries to be a good employer," she said. "Management here does consult with the union and does listen to our concerns. We are having some debates over budget cuts right now, but I believe our employer cares about treating people fairly."

The OPSEU organizing drive aims to win union rights for over 12,500 part-time and sessional workers at 24 Ontario community colleges. While wages and working conditions for full-time unionized employees are the same across the province, those of non-union part-timers vary widely from college to college. Fleming may be the best employer of these workers, said Cree.

"At Fleming, both faculty and support staff have clearly defined pay scales," she said. "Also, regular part-time support staff get paid for statutory holidays and are eligible to take paid sick days. If the college closes for some reason, like bad weather, part-time support staff who are scheduled to work still get paid," she said. "That's not the case at some other colleges."

OPSEU's organizing drive has "brought out the bully" in some college managers, says Roger Couvrette, president of the provincial organization of part-timers and sessionals and a driving force behind the union's campaign.

"Some colleges are actively trying to prevent part-timers and sessionals from finding out about the union's campaign," said Couvrette, who will visit Peterborough today to talk to workers. "It's reached the point where colleges are taking down posters - even paid advertising - and telling people what they can and cannot talk about when they're sitting in a campus cafeteria.

"I'm glad to see that none of that nonsense is happening at Fleming."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Betty Cree
    (705) 749-5520 ext. 1341
    Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Roger Couvrette
    (416) 553-0769 (cell)
    Website: www.opseu.org