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Thomas slams ‘political theatre’ at Queen’s Park

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Toronto – Provincial legislation aimed at forcing striking college faculty back to work is “the worst kind of political theatre” that pits workers against students while letting the real villain of the piece walk away unscathed, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was at Queen’s Park today as the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne introduced a bill to end the five-week strike by over 12,000 college faculty and send outstanding matters in dispute to arbitration.

“I am disappointed in the extreme that, even after the College Employer Council extended the strike by two weeks by forcing a vote on its last contract offer, and even after 86 per cent of faculty emphatically rejected that offer, the Premier has put forward a bill that does nothing to hold the colleges responsible for their bad behaviour throughout this process.

“When I look around Queen’s Park, [NPD leader] Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats are the only ones standing up for the rights of workers,” he said.

Thomas renewed his call for the province to disband the College Employer Council, which he has called “a private club accountable to no one.”

He said the union has continued to reach out to the College Employer Council to resume negotiations, as envisioned in the back-to-work legislation, but has not heard back.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931