Toronto – The Ontario Labour Relations Board’s (OLRB) assignment of the Alternate Chair to the part-time college worker organizing drive is great news, according to the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). Sadly, however, it does little to help the workers who are facing lengthy delays as a result of games-playing on the part of the employer.
“Now that we have the Alternate Chair, we have someone working on the file, and he’s dealt with the first issue around the employer’s attempts to add further names to the list of employees for months following the June vote,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “It’s unfortunate, however, that the OLRB has given the employer so much time to flood the list with new names. While the usual standard is for the employer to be given two days to respond, in this case the employer was allowed three months.”
“But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Now that we have the Alternate Chair assigned, we can start dealing with the list of questions yet to be resolved, like the thousands of card-signers that the employer claims to have never had on staff.”
Remaining questions to be decided include the status of thousands of workers who signed cards submitted by OPSEU, but who do not appear on the list of employees provided by the College Employer Council. As well, significant numbers of duplicate names, employees that belong in the academic unit, and employees that work in excess of 24 hours per week and yet continue to be listed as part-time workers remain to be addressed.
“The lengthy delays in counting this vote aren’t entirely unexpected,” added Thomas. “After all, we recognize we’re dealing with the largest organizing drive in Canadian history.”
Marilou Martin, chair of the college support workers divisional executive, highlighted the importance of this for part-time workers waiting for their votes to be counted. “The good news for these workers, who’ve waited long enough already, is that we can finally move ahead,” said Martin. “The bad news is that there’s still no sign that the employer is willing to stop playing games and just let these votes be counted.”
For more information: Craig Ashbourne, A/Communications Officer, OPSEU, 226-821-1725