Toronto – A new newspaper ad from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has a simple message for community college presidents this week: Stop interfering with workers’ right to unionize.
“In the past six months, thousands of part-time college workers have signed union cards,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Unfortunately, certain college presidents have used all their powers to interfere with our organizing drive.
“Our newspaper ads go right to the heart of the matter,” Thomas said. “The highest-paid people in Ontario’s colleges are doing everything they can to stop some of the lowest-paid from getting ahead. That’s a fact.”
The first OPSEU ad will run in newspapers on March 23. The ad lists seven college presidents, and their salaries, starting with Humber College President Chris Whitaker, who raked in over $425,000 in 2014.
“These men – and they are all men – have barred union organizers from college campuses,” said Thomas. “They’ve chased people out of union offices. And they’ve added thousands of names to employee lists to prevent part-timers from voting to unionize. It’s outrageous.”
Thomas said the actions of the colleges were the reason the union would be accepting, at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, that it had not met the requirements for a representation vote under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act at this time. Therefore the union’s application for certification filed March 7 would be dismissed, he said.
“Make no mistake, this is not over,” Thomas said. “College part-timers will have their union rights recognized, and they will be OPSEU members. We are in this for the long haul.”
To see OPSEU’s new ad, which lists the names and salaries of presidents at Canadore, Conestoga, Fanshawe, Humber, St. Clair, St. Lawrence, and Seneca colleges, click here.
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Warren (Smokey) Thomas,