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Seneca College cuts jobs and wages in time for holiday season

We the North
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OPSEU is calling on the Globe and Mail to remove Seneca College from its co-sponsored “Greater Toronto's Top Employers”. This supplement, released on December 8, ignores that Seneca College denies many of the listed benefits to 63% of its employees, who are non-unionized, temporary workers.

“It is distressing that many of the employment benefits in the rationale for including Seneca College in the “Top Employer” list are only available to full-time employees. Moreover, the benefits in question were negotiated by the employees' union, not a result of the employer's largesse,” said Jonathan Singer, President of OPSEU Local 560 at Seneca College.

Seneca College contract faculty have been told that they will only be permitted to return to work in January on the condition that they accept lower wages, reduced benefits, and no union representation.

“This is bullying, and it threatens the jobs and livelihoods of the most vulnerable members of the Seneca College community,” said Singer.  “Seneca College’s behaviour is utterly inappropriate for any employer, let alone for one putting themselves forward for praise.”

OPSEU would like to know why the Mediacorp editors of the Globe and Mail supplement did not interview any contract faculty or consider how all employees are treated.

“Being a top employer should mean that one treats employees with dignity and respect,” said Singer. “It's disheartening to see such misinformation in the Globe and Mail.”

“A further insult is to our students, who face the threat of a diminished quality of education, now that up to three-quarters of faculty will be distracted by the need to hold additional jobs to make ends meet,” said Singer.

“I am deeply concerned by the growing reliance by Ontario Colleges on precarious faculty employees,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

OPSEU believes Seneca College’s behaviour is part of a larger problem that extends province-wide. Close to 70% of College faculty do not have full-time permanent jobs.

“If we reward Seneca College for their bad behaviour, we are encouraging Ontario colleges across the system to follow their example. Cutting wages, downgrading good jobs, and failing to offer full-time employment to college faculty is bad for students, bad for teachers, and bad for Ontario,” said Thomas.

Is Seneca College really one of the top 100 employers in the GTA? Not this year.

For more information:

Jonathan Singer, Local President, OPSEU Local 560 at Seneca College: ‎jsinger@opseu560.org 416-276-5084

Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 416-557-7936  evisser@opseu.org

See the blog: http://www.partialload.org

Details of the rationale by Mediacorp regarding selection of Seneca College as a top employer: http://www.eluta.ca/jobs-at-seneca-college#winner:winner-more