Members of the University of Waterloo Police Services have voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining OPSEU, with 95 per cent giving the thumbs-up to Ontario’s largest public sector union. The officers will now join over 6,000 members in OPSEU’s Sector 9, the Universities Sector.
The 24 campus police constables perform a large number of duties, including laying charges and making arrests under the same legal authority as police officers. They can be seen patrolling the University of Waterloo’s campuses on foot, on bikes and in cars as they keep many thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors safe.
Officers had long complained of a lack of transparency in the workplace. They also found their voice was consistently ignored when trying to deal with the employer.
“When you work on the front lines like these new members, you’re best placed to see where the problems are and what kinds of solutions work best,” said Sector 9 Chair Kella Loschiavo. “Unfortunately, the employer wasn’t very interested in their insight and experience.
“Adding to workers’ frustration was a lack of transparency on the part of the employer,” Loschiavo added. “It was only a matter of time before they turned to a union that would ensure they had a say in their workplace, and that matters such as hiring and advancement were opened to scrutiny.
“Given OPSEU’s work on behalf of other campus police services, the University of Waterloo Police Services had no hesitation in selecting OPSEU as their union of choice.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says U of W Police are part of an ongoing trend.
“We have the privilege of representing a growing number of university campus police services. I’m absolutely delighted U of W’s police have chosen to put their confidence in OPSEU, and they will get first-class representation.
“The uncertain times we’re now facing with COVID-19 is just another example of how the best protection for frontline workers is to have a strong bargaining agent that will look out for their best interests.”