On Campus

Ontario’s part-time college faculty finish unionization vote

3,544 ballots will not be counted until latest legal battle is settled by Labour Relations Board

Ontario’s part-time and sessional college faculty members finished voting last week to decide if they were in favour or against joining the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

OPSEU says 3,544 faculty members voted. It is estimated there are over 17,000 part-time and sessional faculty teaching at Ontario’s 24 public colleges.

The end of voting is only the beginning of the latest legal battle resulting from the unionization drive.

Colleges Ontario, an umbrella organization representing the 24 colleges, and OPSEU are both arguing over who exactly is eligible to vote.

The 3,544 ballots will remain seal and not be counted until the Ontario Labour Relations Board makes a decision to settle the dispute. It is expected to be months before any decision is made.

The vote follows years of struggle by OPSEU to get the right to organize part-time college workers, who prior to this academic year, were forbidden by provincial law from unionizing.

The ban was only lifted following a 2007 Supreme Court decision which ruled unionization is a constitutional right. The ruling forced the Ontario government to amend the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA) to allow part-time workers to unionize.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.