Union to MPPs: Support ‘better plan’ for Ontario’s colleges

OPSEU College Faculty - collegefaculty.org

Toronto – Unionized college faculty from across Ontario are at Queen’s Park today to ask MPPs to support their “better plan” for the province’s 24 public colleges.

“Ontario’s colleges are at a critical juncture,” said JP Hornick, chair of the college faculty bargaining team for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). “We are increasingly working with universities and delivering degree-level education, yet college management is light years behind in recognizing the role of faculty in academic decisions. Meanwhile, we’re delivering cutting-edge education, but 81 per cent of teaching is done by underpaid contract faculty with zero job security.

“The colleges desperately need to modernize the way they are governed and the way they treat faculty,” she said. “That’s what our current round of collective bargaining is all about.”

OPSEU represents over 12,000 public college professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians. Their collective agreement expires September 30, 2017.

More funding from Queen’s Park is essential to bringing more fairness to the way colleges treat faculty, Hornick said.

“In Bill 148, the province is proposing to bring in ‘equal pay for equal work’ for part-time and contract workers, and we support it wholeheartedly. But it comes with a cost, and in the colleges, that cost can’t come out of faculty, and it can’t come from students. It must come from government, just like when the Pay Equity Act came in in the 1980s.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called on all MPPs to help bring an end to an era based on the exploitation of precarious workers, not just in the colleges, but everywhere.

“Working people everywhere are sick and tired of employers’ cheap labour strategies,” he said. “OPSEU college faculty are taking the lead in saying ‘enough is enough.’

For more information: JP Hornick, 416-806-9526; Mona Chevalier, OPSEU college faculty bargaining team (French only)