Ballots cast in 2016 by Part Time Support Staff to finally be counted

| 18/12/2017
Dear friends,
 
I’m writing to you today with some great news: our union has won a huge victory on behalf of thousands of part-time support staff working in Ontario’s 24 public colleges.
 
In a ruling late last week, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) announced that the ballots cast by thousands of part-timers in a union vote in June 2016 will now be counted. When those ballots are counted, I am confident that OPSEU will be certified as the bargaining agent for college part-timers.
 
This is the largest successful organizing drive in Canadian history. We estimate that the new bargaining unit will have approximately 12,000 members.
 
We are talking about an amazing achievement. OPSEU activists and support staff began signing up college part-time support staff in the fall of 2015. They spent months on college campuses across the province, talking to workers and encouraging them to sign union application cards. By June 2016, we had enough cards to trigger a vote, and more than 4,000 people cast ballots at the end of that month.
 
But then the colleges sent their lawyers in. Using every legal trick in the book, they tried to convince the OLRB that those 4,000 votes shouldn’t be counted because – they claimed – OPSEU had not reached the 35 per cent threshold required under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA). But late last week, the OLRB confirmed that we had. The OLRB has ordered that the ballot boxes be opened and the votes be counted.
 
This is a great day for part-time college support staff, who will soon be our newest members. It’s a great day for OPSEU. And it’s an historic day for the labour movement in Canada, which is alive and kicking.
 
I’ll always be proud of the incredible work OPSEU members and support staff did during that drive. I especially want to thank Connie Huziak, who was the lead organizer on this monumental campaign. Her work made this great accomplishment happen.
 
Friends, democracy matters. We fight for it every day. And some days, we enjoy great victories. Today is one of those days.

 

In solidarity,
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

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