College's Part-time Support Staff Vote To Unionize

Part-time support staff at St. Clair College have officially voted to become members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

The college's Support Staff President Connie Collins is calling the move to unionize a major victory for precarious workers who, until now, had little to no job security.

"A lot of work ahead now trying to get the part-timers all together and get them their own collective agreement and finally going to get some rights, some job security equal pay. So it's absolutely amazing."

St. Clair was part of a vote held at all 24 colleges across the province with 84% of workers voting to join OPSEU.

Collins says this is something they've been fighting for for years.

"This, for us, is an amazing, amazing event. I think most of us are still kind of speechless and still in that awe phase because we truly, as much as we were excited for this day to come, I think it's still kind of surreal that it actually happened."

Collins says they'll be using the full-time agreement as a template for a new contract.

"They do have a lot of issues and concerns on their own end. So as to what exactly it's going to look like, I'm not really sure. It will really be up to all of the part-timers across the 24 colleges to get together, do their own bargaining teams and come up with demands and things that they actually want."

Ontario's approximately 20,000 college part-time support staff voted in June of 2016.

After a legal battle with the College Employer Council, the ballots were counted earlier this week.

 

— with files from AM800's Peter Langille