OPSEU College Support/Soutien. College Support Full-Time.

CAAT S Strike 2011: Strike Bulletin 3


Issue #3, September 9, 2011

Management rejects offer to resume contract talks

Despite the best efforts of your bargaining team to re-start contract negotiations, college management has said it has no interest in returning to the bargaining table.

On its website and in media interviews Thursday, College Employer Council CEO Don Sinclair said management for the 24 colleges won’t be returning to the table until the CAAT Support bargaining team swallows everything management is demanding, including a lengthy list of concessions and take-aways.

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That’s a no-go, said Rod Bemister, chair of the CAAT Support bargaining team.

“It’s really regrettable that management has slammed the door shut on the prospect that the two sides can get together and work out an agreement,” said Bemister. “It reflects the same closed-minded approach that we’ve witnessed from the colleges since early June when we first exchanged contract proposals.”

Undeterred, Bemister said the invitation to resume talks still stands.

“I’ll keep repeating this to whomever wants to listen: we’re prepared to resume negotiations at any time and wherever management wants to meet. All they have to do is pick up the phone and give me a call.”

Seneca worker badly injured on picket line

A striking employee of Seneca College suffered multiple fractures on Sept. 8 when he was struck by a vehicle attempting to enter the school’s Markham campus, north of Toronto. The driver of the vehicle has been charged by York Regional police.

“It was a horrible scene,” said Janice Hagan, president of OPSEU Local 561, which represents 540 striking community college workers at Seneca College. “At the speed the car drove through the picket line it was a miracle that more people weren’t injured.”

Hagan said the incident occurred when the driver of the vehicle accelerated and broke through a line of striking college workers who were picketing the main entrance of the campus.

The injured man, a computer technologist at Seneca College and the married father of a young child, was rushed to York Region Hospital. Police investigated and charged the motorist.

“There is absolutely no reason this incident should have ever happened,” said Hagan. “It’s beyond belief that a driver could act in such a reckless and deadly manner.”

Canadore Local 658 hosts car wash for cystic fibrosis

Canadore College"s Support staff, OPSEU local 658, organized a car wash today in support of the Canadore College Student Representative Council"s(CSRC) Shinerama fundraising initiative..

Under sunny skies the car wash took place at the MacEwen Gas Bar on Algonquin Avenue in Northy Bay starting at 10 a.m. All proceeds from the car wash go to the CSRC"s Shinerama fundraising initiative for cystic fibrosis.

Show of labour solidarity at George Brown

The leaders of some of Ontario’s largest unions displayed a mighty show of force Thursday morning at George Brown College (Casa Loma) when they joined more than 150 members of Local 561 on the picket line outside the downtown campus.

“Your struggle is the struggle of working people everyone in this province,” declared John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.

Cartwright was joined by labour leaders representing public and Catholic boards of education teacher unions, the Ontario Nurses Association, CUPE (Ontario), IATSE and the Ontario Federation of Labour.

ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud best summed up the message all labour leaders delivered to the CAAT Support pickets when she said: “All working people deserve a fair deal from their employers. You are on the frontlines today but your message is one that is shared by workers everywhere!”

OPSEU V.P. hits the road in support of CAAT-S strikers

Eddy Almeida, First Vice President / Treasurer of OPSEU, joined the picket line today at Conestoga College in Kitchener, where he was greeted by dozens of striking CAAT Support workers outside the Doon campus.

“It was a real pleasure to join our brothers and sisters on the line at Conestoga,” said Almeida. “You could really sense the solidarity and the determination of our workers to stick it out as long as it takes to negotiate a fair and just contract.”

Almeida used the occasion to speak to local media where he reminded reporters that the CAAT Support strike is about maintaining good jobs for more than 8,000 members across the province.

“If we start down the road of giving into management’s demands for concessions and take-aways we will eventually end up with a college support system staffed entirely by part-time employees,” he said.

Despite a demanding schedule as OPSEU V.P., Almeida said he is intent on visiting as many picket lines as possible around the province as long as the job action continues. He was later scheduled to visit Sheridan College on Friday.

Send us your stories! Send us your photos!

There’s plenty happening on the picket lines. It’s about time we shared the news with everyone.

The daily Strike Bulletin is a great way to let members everywhere know what’s happening in your local. If you’ve got a short story or anecdote to tell, or some great photographs you’ve taken, then send the material to OPSEU head office where we will do our best to publish it in Strike Bulletin.

Short stories, anecdotes or observations should be sent to OPSEU communications officer Greg Hamara at ghamara@opseu.org

If you’ve taken a good photo then send it to communication assistant Jason Alward at jalward@opseu.org. Remember that close-up photos usually work better than far-away ones.