OPSEU Part-time Support Staff Bargaining Team reach tentative agreement

The bargaining team for OPSEU/SEFPO employees in the CAAT-S PT Division is eager to begin the ratification process on the tentative agreement reached with the College Employer Council (CEC) on June 25. The date for a ratification vote will be announced soon. Read more . . .

Georgian’s Lisa Lavigne elected Chair of the Part-time Support Staff Bargaining Team

Head shot of a young smiling female with long brown hairCongratulations to Georgian’s Lisa Lavigne who was elected Chair of the Part-time Support Staff Bargaining Team.

Part-time college support workers from across the province met virtually Nov. 6 to 7 to set the stage for negotiating their collective agreement by looking at issues, sharing stories and electing a new bargaining team.

Lisa is an Academic Program Assistant for several programs at the Owen Sound Campus including Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE), Office Administration, Law Clerk, Police Foundations, and Skilled Trades. She’s also a proud graduate of Georgian!

Here’s the full news release from OPSEU.

OPSEU urges Ford government to abandon destructive college funding plan

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the government’s plan to change the way colleges are funded will lead to lower-quality education, job cuts, and the outright disappearance of essential programs throughout the province. 

“Just like Walmart decimated the main streets of so many Ontario communities and the livelihoods of so many workers, this plan will destroy Ontario’s beloved college system,” says Smokey. “The Minister is forcing the colleges to focus on fighting each other instead of providing the best education to as many students as possible.  READ MORE . . .

Historic tentative agreement reached

After a long and difficult round of negotiations, your bargaining team has achieved a tentative agreement for College Support Part-time workers. This historic moment is a game-changer for all of us, and everyone who follows in our footsteps at Ontario Colleges. Read more . . .


Duncan McFarlane is a student working part-time in college support. He understands what it means to be a student worker and shares some of the details of the survey that student workers in the Colleges recently told us that they wanted in their first collective agreement.


A man presenting a cheque to a studentCongratulations to Luke Bonsi, a first-year Electrical Engineering Technology student at Georgian’s Barrie Campus, who won a $1,200 scholarship this year from the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) Scholarship Fund.

The CAAT support staff division offers annual scholarships to full-time students at any of the 24 colleges. This year, five $1,200 scholarships were given out.

Students have to submit an essay based on topics ranging from the importance of unions to bullying and harassment.

Local 349 President Craig MacKenzie presented Luke with his cheque on June 21.

This is the second time a Georgian student has won one of the scholarships. Last year, Alessandro Simonetti, a student from the Owen Sound Campus, won a scholarship. Local 349 steward, Kailey Hawkins, presented Alessandro with his cheque.

woman presents a male student with a cheque

Congratulations Luke and Alessandro!


You may have already seen this fun video that aired during the opening ceremonies of the recent Winter Olympics. If not, enjoy!

And if you love the video, you can also buy the t-shirt!

College Support Part-time Workers: Sign your union membership application form today!

You are an OPSEU member, but you still need to sign a membership application form to get your union card. This card will include your union membership number.

The OPSEU membership card provides you with the right to have a say in how your local union is run, to attend membership meetings and events, to vote on your local budget and leadership, to run for positions within OPSEU and the labour movement, and to access OPSEU discounts. Download the application form now by visiting http://bit.ly/OPSEUmembershipform.

You can also get a membership application form from a member of your Local Executive Committee such as your Local President or a union steward.

Sign your card today and support part-time workers’ rights! We are the change.


Tuesday, August 29 has been set as the date for members of OPSEU’s College Support Division to cast their vote on a tentative deal reached with the employer last month to extend the current collective agreement.

The vote will be conducted under the supervision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), as required by the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act. A list of voting locations and times will be distributed once they are confirmed. Read more


“Two generations, one conversation” is a video project by OPSEU’s Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) and its Retirees’ Division.


It features four retired members who share personal experiences of how life has changed since retirement.  They provide invaluable insight and advice to current young workers who are impacted by a plethora of precarious issues, many of which were introduced in their generation but remain relevant today.


It’s been nearly a year since part-time support staff at Ontario colleges voted on whether to join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

While the ballot boxes remain sealed, and the votes inside uncounted, both the College Employers Council (CEC), who is representing colleges in Ontario and OPSEU anticipate that the saga will be over soon. READ MORE . . .


The Government of Ontario has introduced a new framework for determining executive compensation in colleges, universities, hospitals, agencies and other parts of the broader public sector.

As part of this process, Georgian is reaching out to the college community and the public to receive comments and views.

Here is our support staff local’s input in regards to the program:

The local does understand that executive compensation has been frozen since 2012 as outlined in section 7.4 of the Broader Public Service of 2010. The austerity measures of the past five years have impacted executive compensation as well as both support staff and faculty collective agreements. The local believes that, going forward, executive compensation should reflect any increases in financial compensation that apply to all employees of Georgian.

With this in mind, the local would recommend that any executive increases be determined by averaging the increases in the support staff collective agreement and faculty collective agreement for that year. Implementing this averaging method would provide a clear and transparent method of determining executive compensation. This would also show that the Board of Governors and senior management are serious about the financial wellbeing of Georgian and its employees.

Considering the bigger picture, to provide equity through the province and allow all colleges to be able to hire the best applicants for their senior executive ranks, the province should develop a point system so that executives are compensated fairly for what they do, rather than where they work. This, of course, is a discussion to have in future with other colleges’ boards of governors and the province.

Please be advised that the above is also the local’s position that will be used, if we are asked to make a public statement.

Craig MacKenzie

President, Local 349


I hope you’ve had a productivKristinWebe and enjoyable fall semester. I’m amazed by what we accomplish together in support of our students over such a small period of time. You all work so hard and that does not go unnoticed by the board. Time and again, governors express their gratitude for what you do and the kind of experience we offer. So, take a moment – take a breath! – and be proud.

Read more . . .

OPSEU launches campaign to organize part-time college support workers

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, will officially launch the campaign to unionize part‑time support staff employed by the province’s 24 colleges of applied arts and technology.

Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: George Brown College, Waterfront Campus, 51 Dockside Drive, Toronto

Thomas said he was eager to kick off the organizing drive, which aims to bring thousands of part‑time workers under the umbrella of OPSEU. “This is one of those moments when I feel particularly proud to be part of an organization that gives a strong, united voice to workers who have no say in their workplaces. It’s time for these hardworking women and men to be heard.”

Unlike full-time staff, part-time college support staff are not entitled to paid sick days, paid vacation days or health benefits. They have no job security, nor do they have any control over how many hours they work or when they will work them. They are also generally paid less than full-time staff doing the same work.

“The part-time staff are treated like disposable workers,” said Thomas. “Once again, they have turned to us for help, because they have no protections, no benefits, no job security. It’s appalling that workers in the postsecondary education sector are subjected to such shoddy treatment.”

Ontario’s college system was founded in 1965. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a provincial statute that outlawed unionizing part-time college workers.  In 2008, OPSEU’s first attempt to organize the workers was met with vigorous legal obstruction by the government.

“The Liberals enacted Bill 90, which allowed part-time college workers to organize,” observed Thomas. “Then they turned around and spent millions of taxpayer dollars in legal fees to obstruct their own legislation. They prevented the ballot boxes from even being opened, thereby gagging the voices of thousands of workers. That’s the Liberal take on the democratic process.

“My message to part-time support workers at our community colleges is simple: look carefully at what we offer – and Sign Up!  This time, workers will carry the day. We’re going to win.”

SOLIDARITY BBQ – Wednesday, Sept. 2

In support of building solidarity across Georgian campuses, Locals 349 and 350 invite their members to a BBQ on Wednesday, Sept. 2, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Barrie, Orillia and Owen Sound campuses.  We are also planning an alternate food option at the other campus locations.

There will be beef and vegetarian options available. Members will be asked to make their choice in a separate email.  Watch for an email in early August with further details; mark the date in your calendars now.

Help make the BBQ a great success by dropping by to reconnect with colleagues. Support your union and build solidarity! We are stronger together!

To all Local 349 members:As you are now aware from the recent memo sent to all staff, the college has decided to cut 5 per cent from each department’s budget. It is imperative that support staff ensure management hears our ideas on cost-saving measures.Support staff are the ones at work every day. We are the ones who see the day-to-day operations. We are the ones who see first-hand how Georgian uses its resources. I know that you will have many practical and realistic insights on how the college can achieve their budget goal. We need to present administration with concrete examples and suggestions from support staff.Please contact your manager with your cost-saving suggestions. Do this by email (so that administrators have this in writing) and also cc local349@georgiancollege.ca.If you feel your manager might not welcome or appreciate your suggestion, please email me, any of the Local 349 executive or a steward with your suggestion. The executive will bring these forward to management. Be sure to include the area where you work so we will know where your cost-saving suggestion would apply. We would not use your name without asking your consent first.In solidarity,Craig MacKenzieLocal 349 PresidentCAMPAIGN SUMMARY VIDEO
CAAT Support members really got into the swing of mobilizing for bargaining in the summer of 2014. You could even say they plunged right into it. Take a peek at some of the activities across the province that built the solidarity needed to negotiate a good collective agreement. Spoiler alert: Building for the future can be wet work.Watch the video!BUILDING YOUR FUTURE VIDEOSThe OPSEU video crew visited the Georgian College Barrie Campus a few weeks ago and interviewed a few of our members about their jobs. Here are a few of the videos:BUILDING YOUR FUTURE VIDEOSThe OPSEU video crew visited the Georgian College Barrie Campus a few weeks ago and interviewed a few of our members about their jobs. Here are a few of the videos:June Martin – Co-op ConsultantDaniel Clements – Academic Program TechnicianAnnette Zoheret – Programmer/AnalystCollege Support Staff and Faculty begin bargaining(TORONTO) June 2, 2014  More than 16,000 faculty and support staff at Ontario’s 24 colleges will begin negotiations for new contracts starting in early June this year. The two groups have separate contracts, both of which are set to expire on August 31, 2014. Read more . . .Bargaining Update – APRIL 14, 2014NOW THE REAL WORK GETS UNDERWAY!Close to 100 CAAT Support delegates, alternates and observers met in Toronto, March 29-30, to debate, tweak and, in the end, adopt our final contract demands as we look forward to the start of bargaining with the college council in a little more than two months from now. We know negotiations will be tough, with the colleges prepared to offer little, but now we’re armed with the contract expectations that you have delivered to your bargaining team. Read more . . .

Canadians worried about growing income gap: York U study

TORONTO, February 6, 2014 – Almost eight in 10 Canadians think the national income gap is getting bigger, and 70 per cent think this has made Canada a less fair society, according toa national survey published today by York University and the Toronto Star.

Read more . . .

CAAT Support elects the new bargaining team
Close to 100 CAAT Support delegates, observers, alternates and guests met this past weekend in Toronto and elected the team that will guide the division through next year’s round of bargaining. “There was a very good level of enthusiasm right through the weekend and that speaks well as we prepare for demand setting and, later next year, bargaining our new collective agreement,” said Florry Foster, chair of the divisional executive. Foster was also elected as chair of the bargaining team.
The labour movement is not just about decent jobs. It’s about a better life, for everyone.
This is the message that millions of Canadians across the country saw on their television sets in November. It was part of the Canadian Labour Congress’s national advertising campaign to remind people about the good things we all enjoy because unions bring fairness to the workplace – and to our lives. FAIRNESS WORKS – be part of it and share the ad you see below with your friends now.

Fairness Works Video

OPSEU Rally – Jan. 27

Local 349 executive members participated in the OPSEU rally on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Members were there to greet delegates at the Liberal convention. You should see some familiar faces in the video photo collage below.

Video from Saturday’s rally

Photo collage from Saturday’s rally

Board of Governors Update – Amanda Duncan

As of Sept. 1, 2012, I was officially welcomed onto Georgian College’s Board of Governors as your elected Support Staff Internal Governor. This has been an exciting experience for me so far as I am learning more about the institution and how the overall college functions. As part of my role, I will provide you updates, whenever possible, about issues and events that will affect us as support staff.

Over the past few months we have seen many changes at Georgian. An important document to become familiar with is Georgian’s Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA). This document was the result of a visioning exercise for the future directions of postsecondary education in Ontario and was requested by the Honourable Glen Murray, Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU). All colleges and universities were required to submit this document in October. The SMA identifies three strategic priorities or goals the college and/or institution plan to achieve.

Georgian’s SMA was influenced by our strategic plan, Vision 2015, and focused on the following priorities:

  1. Extraordinary teaching and learning through entrepreneurship education, experiential opportunities and technology-enabled delivery.
  2. Student access, mobility and choice through expanded pathways and innovative partnerships.
  3. Institutional sustainability by modelling entrepreneurship and innovation through a process of organizational renewal.

Georgian’s SMA will probably generate a lot of discussion at the college over the next few months. For additional information, I encourage you to read the full document on our website or talk to your supervisor.