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Milloy must intervene with Colleges to uphold rights of college workers to organize


(TORONTO) – A dispute at the Ontario Labour Relations Board that is preventing more than 9,000 part-time community college workers the right to join a union could be resolved immediately if the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities intervened by using his legislative authority, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said today.

“I’m making a public plea to the Premier and Minister John Milloy to have them order management at Ontario’s community colleges to drop their unreasonable and expensive opposition to the will of their own employees to organize,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas told a news conference at Queen’s Park.

“They should take this action not only because they have the legislative authority to do so but, more importantly, because it’s their duty as elected public servants to advance the democratic right of workers to join a union.”

In 2008 the McGuinty government amended the Community Colleges Bargaining Act to allow part-time employees at community colleges to organize and participate in collective bargaining – a right that had been denied to this category of workers for more than 30 years.

In the subsequent organizing drive, more than 9,400 part-time employees signed OPSEU cards. But the counting of those ballots has been delayed by a series of challenges by College management at the OLRB. Last November, the International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations, publicly intervened and urged the McGuinty government to consult with OPSEU to reach a settlement in the dispute.

The OPSEU president was joined at the news conference by NDP critic Rosario Marchese, who said McGuinty’s government gave with one hand what it took with the other.

“You can not pass legislation allowing workers to unionize and then wash your hands when those same workers spend two years fighting delay tactics by their employers,” says Marchese, who today raised the issue during Question Period at the Ontario Legislature.

“The government should intervene, count the votes and let democracy take its course.”

For more information:

Greg Hamara
OPSEU Public Affairs & Communications
647-238-9933 cell 1-800-268-7376 office