Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is rolling out a province-wide ad campaign today to profile the issues at stake in contract talks between 12,000 college faculty and their employer, the College Employer Council.
“As we get closer to a strike deadline, it’s important that students, parents, and the general public know what is at stake in this round of bargaining,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Our 24 public colleges are the door to a better life for students and they are the foundation of a strong, modern economy. Our members have one goal in this round, and that is to make the colleges better, for students and faculty alike.”
JP Hornick, chair of the college faculty bargaining team, said education quality and fairness for contract faculty were key priorities for the union in the negotiations.
“Faculty are deeply frustrated with college administrators who insist on telling faculty what to teach, how to teach, and even what grades to give students,” Hornick said. “We want to put in place a process to guarantee that the voices of faculty and students are heard in academic decision-making. Our experience is that, when those voices are not heard, the colleges are more interested in cutting costs than in delivering courses and programs in the way that is best for students.”
The union’s first radio ad will focus on the plight of thousands of contract faculty who are paid far less than the negotiated rate for full-time permanent faculty and have no job security beyond the next semester.
“It is heartening that, with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, our provincial government is both drawing attention to the problem of precarious work and doing something about it,” said Hornick. “We are bargaining to make sure that the colleges recognize their responsibility to address precarious work in their own workplaces so faculty can live decently. So far, three months since we started bargaining, we’re not seeing that.”
OPSEU represents full-time permanent college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians as well as part-time “partial load” faculty who teach between and seven and 12 hours per week.
The union advertising campaign will feature outdoor and online ads as well as radio spots.
For more information: JP Hornick, 416-806-9526; Mona Chevalier, OPSEU college faculty bargaining team (French only) 613-606-2238