College Support/Soutien. College Support Part-time.

College Support Part-time Bargaining Bulletin #5: Smooth so far, but the going could soon get tough

OPSEU College Support Part-time / SEFPO College soutien personnel a temps partiel

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Smooth so far, but the going could soon get tough

Negotiating a first collective agreement is a huge undertaking, especially one that serves the needs and reflects the contributions of our incredibly diverse group of 20,000 members across the province.

Right now, your bargaining team is laying the foundation for our collective agreement, taking a careful and methodical approach to each and every priority and article.

“Negotiating a first contract is a lot like building a house,” says Ted Claeys, Chair of the College Support Part-time bargaining team. “You definitely can’t do it in a day. And if you rush now, you’ll suffer the consequences of shoddy construction in the future.”

So far, things are going smoothly and there is a feeling of cautious optimism in the air. The two sides have established a good bargaining “rhythm” and agreement is being reached on some important points.

Your bargaining team can say for the first time in 50 years, we have established a firm and unwavering voice in the workplace.

There are bound to be difficult days ahead. The employer isn’t going to simply accept all of our demands, and has hinted at some demands of its own that we won’t easily accept.

We can’t share every detail with you through this bargaining process — part of establishing trust at the table is leaving space for frank but confidential discussion. 

But we will share with you as much as we can during bargaining. And once we have a tentative agreement, you will get to see every single article before you vote yes or no.

Whose job is it anyways?

Take two minutes to watch why job competition language is important to achieve in this round of negotiations:

Qualified to train, but not eligible to apply

I am a part-time contract worker and have been for almost a decade.  

Recently, the full-time assistant from our department moved to another department. I wanted to apply for that job, but because I’m not full-time I couldn’t apply right away and they ended up hiring another full time employee from another department. 

I had to train that new assistant, which didn’t seem fair. I wasn’t eligible to apply for the job, but I was qualified to train somebody to do it. How is that right?

At the same time, they also hired two Work Study Students and I had to train them as well. I then found out that one of the students was making more money than I was. 

I have a more senior role and have been there longer, yet my pleas to fix this were not heard.

I love this job but I don’t feel valued. I don’t feel like I want to help as much as I used to. This is not good long-term. I am on the bottom of the wage scale but am relied on the most. 

Please send us your stories

Each and every one of your stories help us build rationale that we can use in bargaining to prove to the Council that this language is necessary in our collective agreement.  Please keep emailing us your personal stories to We read every one of them because they matter to us, and they truly help us at the table. 

Top 5 reasons everybody wins when hiring is fair

Based on what we’ve heard from members across the province, a fair hiring process is a major issue we’re determined to address at the table. 

“It’s not right that somebody who’s been working as a part-timer for years doesn’t get a fair shot at full-time jobs that come up,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “If you have  years of experience, that should count for something. Your application shouldn’t just get lumped in with hundreds of people who’ve never set foot in the college.

“College support part-timers deserve much better, and OPSEU is standing with them as they fight to get it.”

A fair hiring process isn’t just good for part-timers. Here are the Top 5 reasons why it’s also good for the colleges and the students:

  1. Improves employee productivity and morale because people feel properly valued
  2. Helps the students by making service faster, better, and more consistent
  3. Makes hiring faster and easier because it established a pool of pre-qualified candidates
  4. Reduces training costs
  5. Reduces costs of advertising job openings

Showing solidarity by “sticking” together

Full-timers support Part-timers

Huge thanks to all the full-time college support staff across the province who showed their solidarity with us this week by wearing our “Full-Timers Support Part-Timers” stickers.

“A college support staff member is a college support staff member, whether they’re part-time or full-time,” said OPSEU College Support Sector Chair Janice Hagan. “It’s important for college support staff to stick together, because that will give us all more power at the bargaining table.

“The employer wants to keep us divided. I’m proud to hear that you’re sticking together instead.”

Your bargaining team

Ted Claeys, Local 124 at Lambton College, Chair
Duncan McFarlane, Local 416 at Algonquin College, Vice-chair
Jennifer Ayotte, Local 656 at Cambrian College
Christopher Millado, Local 557 at George Brown College
Connie Collins, Local 137 at St. Clair College
Janice Hagan, Local 561 at Seneca College, College Support Sector Chair

For more information, visit 

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Please email your bargaining team at if you have any questions or concerns. We are happy to answer you.

Approved for distribution by Warren (Smokey) Thomas,
President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union