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Representation vote starts today for non-union college faculty

Vote OPSEU. Illustration of person putting ballot in a box

Toronto – Thousands of part-time and sessional faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges begin casting ballots today in a representation vote on choosing the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) as their bargaining agent. The vote, supervised by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, continues until October 13.

“This is an historic vote that is happening at a critical time,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Under Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, major changes are coming for contract workers across Ontario. By voting to join OPSEU, part-time and sessional faculty will give themselves a voice at the table just as the colleges will be bringing in ‘equal pay for equal work’ and other changes to comply with the law.

“Now is the time for all part-time and sessional faculty to get informed about the vote and get out to the polls. It’s an incredible opportunity to join a union that has been at the forefront of the fight for fairness for contract workers.”

Contract faculty who teach six or fewer hours per week or more than 12 hours per week on short-term contracts are eligible to vote. Contract faculty who teach seven to 12 hours per week are already OPSEU members in the same bargaining unit as full-time permanent professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians.

“Non-union contract faculty deliver credit and non-credit courses for wages and working conditions that are well below the negotiated standards for their unionized colleagues,” said RM Kennedy, chair of OPSEU’s College Academic Division. “In fact, part-timers and sessionals are doing a tremendous amount of work that they aren’t even paid for.

“Recognizing the contribution they actually make can only be good for our students and the overall quality of education they receive.”

Full information on the vote is available at contractfaculty.ca.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; RM Kennedy, 416-346-8382