TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - A dispute at the Ontario Labour Relations Board
that is preventing more than 9,000 part-time community college workers
the right to join a union could be resolved immediately if the Minister
of Training, Colleges and Universities intervened by using his
legislative authority, the president of the Ontario Public Service
Employees Union said today.
"I'm making a public plea to the Premier and Minister John Milloy to
have them order management at Ontario's community colleges to drop
their unreasonable and expensive opposition to the will of their own
employees to organize," OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas told a
news conference at Queen's Park.
"They should take this action not only because they have the legislative
authority to do so but, more importantly, because it's their duty as
elected public servants to advance the democratic right of workers to
join a union."
In 2008 the McGuinty government amended the Community Colleges Bargaining Act to allow part-time employees at community colleges to organize and
participate in collective bargaining - a right that had been denied to
this category of workers for more than 30 years.
In the subsequent organizing drive, more than 9,400 part-time employees
signed OPSEU cards. But the counting of those ballots has been delayed
by a series of challenges by College management at the OLRB. Last
November, the International Labour Organization, an agency of the
United Nations, publicly intervened and urged the McGuinty government
to consult with OPSEU to reach a settlement in the dispute.
The OPSEU president was joined at the news conference by NDP critic
Rosario Marchese, who said McGuinty's government gave with one hand
what it took with the other.
"You can not pass legislation allowing workers to unionize and then wash
your hands when those same workers spend two years fighting delay
tactics by their employers," says Marchese, who today raised the issue
during Question Period at the Ontario Legislature.
"The government should intervene, count the votes and let democracy take
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
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