In October 2 2017, contract faculty (part-time and sessional) at Ontario community colleges will be voting on whether to join OPSEU. Full time and partial load faculty at Ontario colleges already belong to the union.
A. WHY IS THERE A VOTE?
OPSEU filed an application for certification to represent part-time and sessional faculty on June 23rd and Ontario’s Labour Relations Board has decided that the vote will begin on October 2nd 2017. With this vote, part time and sessional faculty will have an opportunity to decide whether they will join their full time counterparts at OPSEU.
B. HOW DID WE GET HERE?
In a campaign that begun last September, OPSEU members and organizers reached out to contract academics at all 24 Ontario colleges. The campaign focused on issues of equal pay for equal work, paid vacation and sick days, and job security among others. Thousands of contract faculty supported the campaign and signed cards.
OPSEU was able to gather enough support to file with the Ontario Labour Board to represent part-time and sessional faculty. That filing took place a few weeks ago on June 23. Last Friday, the Board set a date of October 2, 2017 for the vote, to start and it will likely take one to two weeks to be completed.
C. WILL MY EMPLOYER FIND OUT IF I SIGNED A UNION CARD?
No. The employer will not find out who has signed a card. Only your OPSEU organizing and the Labour Board has that information.
D. WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE?
The short answer is that all part-time and sessional faculty at every community college are eligible to vote this coming October. Part-time and sessional faculty will be able to vote on joining OPSEU, whether or not they signed a membership application card.
The long answer to that question is a bit more complicated. Because college contract faculty tend to be temporary or short term employees, the Board must make a decision as to who qualifies to vote. Later this summer, and certainly before the vote, the Board will inform us of that decision. We will forward that information to you as soon as it is available.
E. WHAT HAPPENS IF THE VOTE IS “YES”?
Once the votes are counted, if 50 per cent plus one voted yes, you’ll become members of the union. Then it will be time to negotiate a first collective agreement.