Toronto – Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews must direct community college presidents to stop trying to block part-time college support staff from unionizing, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said today.
“Last week, we wrapped up the largest organizing drive in Canadian history when thousands of part-time support staff at 24 colleges voted on whether to join our union,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “In response, college presidents have launched expensive legal action to stop those votes from being counted. I’m calling on the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development to instruct the presidents to stop wasting public dollars on high-priced lawyers and get on with the count.”
Thomas said the colleges’ request for a judicial review of the Ontario Labour Relations Board decision to call the vote was a “ridiculous repeat” of the anti-union tactics they used the last time part-time support staff voted on union representation.
“In 2009, the Liberal government wasted public dollars on legal action that stopped the votes from being counted,” said Thomas. “That was the McGuinty era. I’m calling on Minister Matthews to show that this government is different by making sure that these workers’ voices are heard, and heard now.
“The Labour Board made the right decision in calling this vote,” Thomas said. “The colleges should stop objecting and allow the ballots to be counted.”
In a letter to Matthews today, Thomas noted the college vote presents an opportunity for the government to follow through on its stated concerns around the rise of precarious work in Ontario.
“Premier Wynne has spoken at great length in recent months about the plight of precarious workers,” Thomas wrote. “The hundreds of thousands of Ontarians in part-time, temporary and insecure jobs will judge your government’s sincerity on this issue by your actions in this case.”
For more information: Craig Ashbourne, A/Communications Officer, OPSEU, 226-821-1725