College faculty are making history right now.
On picket lines across the province, OPSEU members are fighting for the future — the future of our colleges, and the future of work itself.
I want to say a big “thank you” to every member who has walked the line these past four weeks. Your struggle is our struggle, and you are winning.
I urge every faculty member to vote NO to the bad offer the colleges are trying to force on you. That offer is the last card the colleges have to play. A resounding NO vote sends your team back to bargaining – with the upper hand.
College students know that education is their ticket to a good job and the better life that comes with it. Unions, business leaders, and politicians know that a skilled workforce is the foundation of a strong economy. And faculty know that the colleges can’t develop that workforce if they don’t listen to the voice of faculty on academic decisions.
But that’s not all faculty are fighting for. There is another, even bigger, conversation going on.
What kind of Ontario do we want to live in? One where people have the good jobs they need to live decently, raise a family if they want to, and retire with dignity? Or one where most jobs are temporary and no one gets enough hours to live on?
That’s the big question in the college strike, and by now, most Ontarians get it. The only people who don’t are the 24 college presidents.
The college presidents are a privileged elite whose main concern is defending their privilege. They have power; they want more. They have high-six-figure salaries; they want double-digit raises.
These are the same people workers have always fought against. And our fight has paid huge dividends – from Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension plan to medicare and public education.
To all OPSEU members on the picket line today, I say this: Keep fighting. Keep going. Vote NO – and win.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union