TORONTO, May 6 /CNW/ - "The amended Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA) technically allows part-time college workers in Ontario to unionize, but it has been a complete failure in practice", says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Union (OPSEU). "There are now several thousand part-time teachers, counsellors, technical and support staff who have exercised their rights and now cannot even join a union of their choice. What country are we living in?" asks Thomas.
Under the new legislation, 35 percent of the workers affected must sign union cards in order for the Ontario Labour Relations Board to order a vote. The legislation also gives the colleges an opportunity to challenge the number of cards the union has signed. This is exactly what two employers have done in the past year - the Ontario Colleges and also Ryerson University where OPSEU recently signed up part-time support staff workers.
"The ILO condemned the Ontario government for denying part-time college workers the fundamental right to form a union", said Thomas. "While the government changed the law, in reality nothing changed. The employer is now hijacking the legal process in order to continue to deny these workers the right to form a union. This is a case of democracy denied and we intend to keep fighting for justice for part-time workers in an economy which is in desperate need of good, unionized jobs with decent wages and benefits."
OPSEU and the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), which represents over 340,000 members in Canada, are now calling on the ILO to reopen the case on part-time college staff in Ontario. At 12 noon on May 6, at its annual convention in Toronto, OPSEU will be marching to the Ministry of Labour and calling on the McGuinty Liberals to open the ballot boxes and count the votes of disenfranchised part-time workers.
For further information: For further information: call Don Ford at (416) 788-9104