Ottawa – After an organizer talking to contract faculty about joining a union was thrown off the La Cité collégiale campus earlier this week, union leaders joined her return to campus Friday to send a message to colleges choosing to ignore workers’ rights.
The President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) commended contract faculty workers for their bravery in continuing to sign union cards by the thousands despite resistance from college presidents. Flanked by the organizer and elected leaders from the region, he reiterated the union’s refusal to back down in the face of the La Cité president’s attempts at intimidation.
“The right to join a union is a fundamental right all Canadians have,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The Premier knows that, the minister knows that, and these college presidents know that. It’s guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see cases like right here at La Cité, where presidents like Lise Bourgeois continue to ignore those rights and attempt to prevent these workers from signing cards. These workers make a tiny fraction of the $300,000 she makes each year – yet she continues to use every trick in the book to try to keep them from having a voice.”
Despite the fact that college presidents were reminded of workers’ right to organize last spring during the successful organizing drive by contract college support staff, Thomas says recent actions “suggest they’ve either forgotten, or are choosing to ignore, these fundamental rights.”
Management resistance has only strengthened the union’s resolve, Thomas added, saying that “no matter how hard college presidents try to stop us, we’re not going to abandon these workers.
“Contract faculty deserve a voice, and they deserve better treatment than they’ve gotten so far from their employers. We’re going to make sure they get the fair treatment they deserve.”
For more information: Timothy Humphries, Bilingual Communications Officer, 416-432-6907