TORONTO, June 2, 2014 /CNW/ - More than 16,000 faculty and support staff at Ontario's 24 colleges will begin negotiations for new contracts starting in early June this year. The two groups have separate contracts, both of which are set to expire on August 31, 2014.
Jointly-held solidarity events have begun and will be continuing during negotiations this summer. Look for special sunshades in college staff cars with the message "Working together for student success".
College staff are united in their concern about the effect of years of underfunding for post-secondary education.
"It is time to end the attack on post-secondary education in Ontario. There is no other way to call the years of systematic underfunding that threatens quality education at our colleges," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
"Whoever wins the upcoming Ontario election, we will hold them to account with regards to committing to quality post-secondary education," said Thomas.
"College support workers include more than 150 different occupations in the college system, and are the backbone of Ontario's colleges," said Florry Foster, College Support Bargaining Team Chair. "Without us, the system couldn't function. Protecting full-time work and good jobs for support staff at the colleges is crucial to post-secondary education."
"The quality of education in Ontario colleges is threatened by the diminishing numbers of full-time faculty as well as the steady erosion of our public post-secondary education system through privatization," said David Fasciano, College Academic Bargaining Team Chair.
"As professors, counsellors and librarians, academic staff work closely with students every day. Students trust us to provide them with quality education, and this new contract can help make the colleges better for everyone." said Fasciano.
SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 416-557-7936 firstname.lastname@example.org; Florry Foster, OPSEU Local 137 at St. Clair College, and College Support Bargaining Team Chair: 519-560-1898; David Fasciano, OPSEU Local 673 at Collège Boréal and College Academic Bargaining Team Chair: David.email@example.com