The VOTE YES campaign at Fleming College in January. Pictured are Candy Lindsay, vice-president of the Organization of Part-Time and Sessional Employees of the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (OPSECAAT); Dave Shaw, a part-time faculty member at Fleming; Gary Bonczac, president of Local 352 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union; Barb Linds, retired OPSEU campaigns officer and lead hand for the vote in eastern Ontario; Audrey Healy, chief steward of Local 352 and Roger Couvrette, OPSECAAT president. [Photo: OPSEU]
Part-time and sessional faculty at Ontario’s community colleges won’t know the result of their union certification vote for weeks, thanks to an objection from the colleges over voter eligibility.
A question from college management over who was eligible to take part in the recent three-week vote among part-time teachers is keeping the ballot boxes sealed until the Ontario Labour Relations Board hears the dispute March 31.
Roger Couvrette, president of the part-time college workers’ association, said more than 3,500 people at the province’s 24 community colleges voted Jan. 19–Feb. 5 to determine whether they would join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
“The colleges have been fighting against our organizing drive from the very start and this current example of stonewalling is only the most recent of many,” he said. “They don’t want the votes to be counted, and if it wasn’t for the legal objections of college lawyers, the OLRB would be counting the votes right now.”
Until last October, it was against the law for part-time and sessional college workers in Ontario to even join a union.
“The part-time and sessional college faculty have had to wait for years for the right to unionize,” Couvrette said. “We are calling on college management to drop their objections to opening the ballot boxes and let democracy prevail.”