Voting begins Oct. 2 for part-time & sessional faculty

last updated: Sept 25, 2017

Beginning 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 CAAT-A union.

 1.  Why is there a vote?

OPSEU filed an application for certification to represent part-time and sessional faculty on June 23, 2017. The 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 as OPSEU members.

 2.  How did we get here?

In a campaign that began last September, OPSEU members and organizers reached out to contract academics at all 24 Ontario colleges.  The campaign focused on issues such as equal pay for equal work, paid vacation and sick days, and job security to name a few.  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.  Application to file occurred on June 23. 

 3.  Why is this vote so important

With this vote you can begin to build your future. Contract faculty deserve equal pay for equal work, full time opportunities and job security. By voting YES, you and your colleagues are taking a step towards a fairer, more rewarding workplace.

 4.  What are the benefits of becoming an OPSEU member?

The benefits of joining OPSEU are clear. You can negotiate for stronger job security, a clearer path to fulltime opportunities and equal pay for equal work. OPSEU has had a productive place in the college system for over 40 years, with more than 16,000 members working in colleges in the province.

 5.  How will the vote be conducted?

The Board has set the vote to begin on October 22017.  A date and time to vote will be assigned for your college sometime in the two weeks following October 2nd.  The vote will be conducted by a labour relations officer of the OLRB. Once we receive the voting dates and times from the OLRB, we will email the information to everyone for whom we have emails.  You can also check for updates.

 6.  Who is eligible to vote?

According to the OLRB, all part-time and sessional faculty at an Ontario community college who worked at any time between June 23, 2017 and October 2, 2017 (inclusive) are eligible to vote. To qualify to vote, you must have worked during that period, as a part-time (for less than 6 hours) or sessional employee (temporary full time).

 7.  Am I eligible to vote if I did not sign a membership card?

Yes, you are eligible to vote. It does not matter whether or not you have signed a membership application card.

 8.  What if my name doesn’t appear on the voter’s list?

Due to the precarious situation of part-time faculty at community colleges, any voters list used will be incomplete and possibly inaccurate to some degree. If you believe you are eligible to vote, go to a vote location and bring I.D. If you are not on the list, your name will be added. Voter eligibility will be determined after the vote is complete.

 9.  Do I have to vote at my college?

The vote date and time for your college will be available soon.  If you’re unable to vote at your college, you may vote at any other voting location.  Don’t forget to bring your ID. If you work at more than one college, you are only allowed to vote once.

 10.  Will my employer find out if I signed a union card?

No.  The employer will not find out who has signed a union card.  Only your OPSEU organizer and the Labour Board has that information.

 11.  What happens if the vote result is YES?

Once the votes are counted, if 50 per cent plus one voted yes, you’ll be represented by OPSEU. Then it will be time to negotiate a first collective agreement.

 12.  When will vote times and poll locations be available?

The Ontario Labour Relations Board will determine the vote times and schedule. We will email everyone as soon as we receive this information.

 13.  Will I need I.D. to vote?

The Ontario Labour Relations Board may request voters to produce photo I.D. To make sure, please bring I.D when you come to vote.

 14.  How much are union dues? 

OPSEU union dues are fixed at a rate of 1.375 per cent of gross pay. This money pays for collective bargaining expenses, grievance-handling, union education programs, operating expenses for union locals, and all other union services to members.   

 15.  What percentage of votes does the union need to be certified as the bargaining agent?

For OPSEU to be certified as your bargaining agent, the union needs to receive 50% +1 of votes cast. 

 16.  Does a potential faculty strike affect the vote

If full time faculty members decide to strike, we will communicate any changes to vote times and locations. Ongoing updates will be provided. Please sign up to ensure you receive any updates regarding the vote

17. Can I vote online?

No.  All votes must be cast in person.