Bargaining Update: The big push forward
The cards are now on the table, and we are ready for a big push forward. Our monetary position – everything you want that costs money – is now being negotiated.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is making it a top priority to bargain a fair agreement for all part-time support staff. “You are members of a large and proud union, and we have your back. Things are about to change at Ontario Colleges, and together we are on the front-lines of that change.”
You told your bargaining team you want wage parity with full time support. You want benefits. You want sick time and vacation entitlement. You want education benefits. You also told us you want a fair hiring system that recognizes your skills, experience and education. Your bargaining team heard you loud and clear, and we are moving forward with those demands.
Fairness includes parity with the full-time support staff on monetary items. We have an excellent model document to work with – the College Support full-time collective agreement – and that’s what we’re using. The Employer agreed to these terms for the full-time workers, now it’s time for them to agree to the same for the part-time workers.
The Employer wants “operational flexibility” and we have heard those words a lot at the bargaining table. This is their way of saying no: No to fairness, no to equality and no to your priority demands.
We remain determined to reach a fair collective agreement, and we’ll get it with your support, together with cooperation and good will from the Employer. Get informed on the issues, talk to your co-workers, and take part in our upcoming bargaining support actions. Support your bargaining team!
They have goals. We have demands.
We did our homework and came to the bargaining table prepared. Really prepared. On the very first day we came to the table with a full package including your prioritized demands, a draft proposal for a collective agreement, and all the research to back it up.
What did the Employer have? Goals. They brought five goals. Count them. Just five. Their actual bargaining intentions are hidden between the lines.
The Employer’s number one goal is “operational flexibility”. We have had 50 years of operational flexibility. That’s how we got here. That way of running Ontario’s colleges has created systemic disrespect for part-time workers.
College Support Part-time workers organized and joined OPSEU to take a stand for workplace fairness. We see through the employer goals and double-speak. You told us you want change, and your bargaining team is committed to delivering.
We are at the bargaining table to put an end to decades of the Employer devaluing our work. You told us you are done with the Employer’s 24 different systems of hiring, determining wages, and writing job descriptions. You told us to negotiate for a different system that is fair for all. And that is what we are doing.
There is power in numbers
Over the course of a year, there are 20,000 of us, with 14,000 College Support Part-time staff employed at any given time during a term. Many of us have different jobs in different classifications.
College support part-time staff have a high turn-over. That’s because some 60% of us are students, and often work for only one term. That doesn’t mean we don’t want full-time jobs, but it does mean that we don’t always get to continue working term over term.
There is power in numbers. We are in every department and every faculty of every college in the province. There are more of us than all of the full-time staff combined. Now is the time to use that power.
Why we need a system that evaluates our jobs at all colleges
Job evaluation is a key issue at the bargaining table.
Wage equality and fairness for all cannot happen without a single job evaluation system that applies equally to all part-time support staff at all 24 Ontario colleges. All of the colleges already have a pay-band system in effect. It is now a matter of making that system uniform.
The time has come to make the move to a fair system for all, and bury the existing chaotic and unjust juggling of 24 different systems at the 24 different colleges.
We know it can be done. In fact the College Support Full-time staff have a single job evaluation system already. It works for them, and it will work for us.
Get Active with OPSEU! Be the Change. Watch our new video, and be sure to share it with your colleagues and social networks.
Let’s make the most of being a union member. Help us help you. Watch this video to find out how. https://youtu.be/tqdNaZIG2aM
Solidarity sticker day!
“Equality and Fairness for All” is a message we can all get behind.
During the first week of November, we will hold a special solidarity sticker day at each college campus.
Support negotiations for a strong collective agreement: Be sure to speak to your union representative and get your sticker.
The more members who get involved with our union, the stronger we are, and the more power we have at the bargaining table. That means a better deal for all of us.
Talk to your local union representatives, read our communications, and be knowledgeable about the issues. Talk to your colleagues, family and friends about what must change at the colleges.
Conversations are key to getting out our message and supporting bargaining for a strong collective agreement. Please make sure your part-time coworkers received a copy of this bulletin. If they have not, please share it with them.
Get the facts
FACT: It is safe to sign a union membership card. It is your right to belong to a union. There is strength in numbers, and signing a card only makes you stronger.
FACT: Signing a union membership card does not have anything to do with paying union dues. Union dues are important because they help pay for all the benefits of being part of a union. This includes all the work it takes to bargain and enforce your collective agreement. Whether or not you sign a card, everyone will start paying dues when we ratify our collective agreement.
For more facts and details about bargaining, visit the OPSEU website: https://opseu.org/sector/college-support-part-time
Have you had a personal experience with receiving unfair wages at the college where you work? We want to hear from you. Please share your story by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Help support your bargaining team
Do you have a few extra hours available each week? Do you enjoy networking, event planning and having conversations with your coworkers? We are looking for some assistants who can spread the word about bargaining issues and help with upcoming events to support the bargaining team. Please contact email@example.com if you can help out. Compensation will be provided for everyone chosen.
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
Please email your bargaining team at firstname.lastname@example.org 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