Rally for Education: Feb. 7

As most will be aware the Ontario Conservative government are conducting pre-budget consultations in preparation for the release of their first spring budget.

All of their preparation, actions and previous economic statements have been to prepare the people of Ontario for austerity, cuts and privatization to fix a manufactured $22-billion deficit. The supposed Ernst and Young line-by-line review will be the blueprint by which the Conservatives will transfer wealth from the working class and the poor through cuts to services in order to pay for tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy.

Please attend a Rally for Education on Feb. 7 to support Local 330 (Simcoe County boards of education). Say no to cuts to education at one of the following locations:

BARRIE – 4 to 5:30 p.m.

MPP Doug Downey’s office – 20 Bell Farm Rd, 

BRACEBRIDGE – 4:15 to 4:45 p.m.

MPP Norm Miller’s office 165 Manitoba Street

PARRY SOUND – 4:30 p.m.

MPP Norm Miller’s office 17 James Street

Part-time Bargaining Update: The big push forward

The cards are now on the table, and we are ready for a big push forward.  Our monetary position – everything you want that costs money – is now being negotiated.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is making it a top priority to bargain a fair agreement for all part-time support staff. “You are members of a large and proud union, and we have your back. Things are about to change at Ontario Colleges, and together we are on the front-lines of that change.”

You told your bargaining team you want wage parity with full time support. You want benefits. You want sick time and vacation entitlement. You want education benefits. You also told us you want a fair hiring system that recognizes your skills, experience and education. Your bargaining team heard you loud and clear, and we are moving forward with those demands.

Fairness includes parity with the full-time support staff on monetary items. We have an excellent model document to work with – the College Support full-time collective agreement – and that’s what we’re using. The Employer agreed to these terms for the full-time workers, now it’s time for them to agree to the same for the part-time workers.

The Employer wants “operational flexibility” and we have heard those words a lot at the bargaining table. This is their way of saying no: No to fairness, no to equality and no to your priority demands.

We remain determined to reach a fair collective agreement, and we’ll get it with your support, together with cooperation and good will from the Employer. Get informed on the issues, talk to your co-workers, and take part in our upcoming bargaining support actions. Support your bargaining team!

They have goals. We have demands.

We did our homework and came to the bargaining table prepared. Really prepared. On the very first day we came to the table with a full package including your prioritized demands, a draft proposal for a collective agreement, and all the research to back it up.

What did the Employer have? Goals. They brought five goals. Count them. Just five. Their actual bargaining intentions are hidden between the lines.

The Employer’s number one goal is “operational flexibility”. We have had 50 years of operational flexibility. That’s how we got here. That way of running Ontario’s colleges has created systemic disrespect for part-time workers.

College Support Part-time workers organized and joined OPSEU to take a stand for workplace fairness. We see through the employer goals and double-speak. You told us you want change, and your bargaining team is committed to delivering.

We are at the bargaining table to put an end to decades of the Employer devaluing our work. You told us you are done with the Employer’s 24 different systems of hiring, determining wages, and writing job descriptions. You told us to negotiate for a different system that is fair for all. And that is what we are doing.

Read more.

Georgian student wins CAAT support staff scholarship

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!

College Support Part-time workers: OPSEU Q and A

Your bargaining team is hard at work on the first-ever collective agreement for College Support Part-time workers. The following Q and A is designed to answer some of your questions about how best to get involved, support your team, and better understand what it means to be a member of OPSEU.


Congratulations to the newly elected College Support Part-time bargaining team!


College Support Part-time workers from across the province came together at the Delta Chelsea hotel in downtown Toronto on March 24-25 to discuss issues, share stories and elect their bargaining team.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida attended the event, which included College Support Part-time members and 140 College Support members who also had their Divisional Meeting and elections that day.  President Thomas offered special congratulations to all of the new College Support Part-time members present, saying: “This is an exciting new chapter in labour history. You are part of the change to the college system that will make Ontario college jobs and workplaces better.”


OPSEU brokers historic new pension deal for Ontario

The finishing touches were put to the agreement on the eve of OPSEU’s Convention, and President Warren (Smokey) Thomas signed the deal on stage to the applause of nearly 2,000 OPSEU/NUPGE members.

“The OPSEU Pension Trust (OPTrust) Select defined benefit jointly sponsored, jointly trusteed pension plan is a game-changer,” said Thomas.  “Many Ontario workers in the public service currently have no access to a workplace pension. This world-class new plan will help fix that.”  READ MORE