Press Release

Sept. 1 strike deadline approaching for college support workers

Publication Date

Friday, August 19, 2011 (All day)

(TORONTO) – With a contract expiry date of Aug. 31 quickly approaching, support staff employed by Ontario’s 24 colleges will be in a legal position to walk off the job on Sept. 1.

More than 8,000 workers, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), have been in contract talks since June. Despite the looming deadline, there has been no meaningful dialogue from negotiators representing management. It is the view of the union’s bargaining team that management is avoiding serious negotiations until the deadline is reached.

“Students should be very aware that the start of the school year will be jeopardized as long as college management refuses to negotiate seriously,” said Rod Bemister, chair of the bargaining team for OPSEU. “We urge all students to contact their college president today and demand that a deal gets negotiated as soon as possible.”

Both sides will return to the bargaining table on Aug. 23 in hopes that a collective agreement can be reached before the strike deadline.

“Our bargaining team is still committed to negotiating a fair and equitable collective agreement. However, given the very limited progress we have made to date we are not optimistic that an agreement can be reached in time,” said Bemister.

The union has adopted the theme, “Good Jobs Today and Good Jobs for the Future,” to guide it through bargaining. It is in response to the colleges’ proposals for two-tier employment and the erosion of good, full-time jobs. Ontario’s economic recovery depends on good jobs and not through the disappearance of good jobs.

“This fight isn’t just about us; it’s about our future and future employment for our students who attend college to gain good, full-time permanent jobs,” said Bemister.

More information:

Rod Bemister
Chair, OPSEU College Support Staff Bargaining Team
416-779-0669

Greg Hamara
OPSEU Communications
416-443-8888 ext 8777 office
647-238-9933 cell