Members get ready for strike, just in case!!
On June 18, 80 members gathered to update their picket training and strike finance training. The first item on the agenda was an update from their bargaining team Chair, Rod Bemister. Rod explained the reasons behind the decision to call for a strike mandate and these members as leaders responsible for strike preparation and administration in every college, gave him a great reception.
Randy Robinson, OPSEU Political Economist, presented new material on Fighting Austerity, linking college workers with workers facing the onslaught by governments and employers everywhere. He spoke about the education sector where the replacement of good, full-time jobs with lower-paying, part-time or contracted out employees, is one of the biggest threats labour has to face and CAAT Support members are at the forefront of this struggle right now. What they are fighting for is the future of jobs at the colleges and the future of jobs for the young people of today.
The education sector makes up eight per cent of all jobs in Canada, but has 22 per cent of all contract temporary jobs. The Colleges have been consistently hiring more and more part-time employees, work-study students and contracting out work. The result is the loss of good, full-time jobs with decent wages.
At lunchtime, OPSEU members took to the streets to practice their picket line skills at the CUPW picket line and then had mock drills back in the classroom to hone in on their skills. Finance training participants took to their computers and practised the precise skills needed for the financial coordination in each local if we cannot get a deal by August 31.
OPSEU participants were fired up and ready to go at the end of their training. They were positive and upbeat about the upcoming strike vote announced this week as July 14, 2011.