Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

OPSEU NEWS RELEASE for November 30, 2017: “Suspensions at La Cité show why ‘academic freedom’ matters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                       November 30, 2017


Suspensions at La Cité show why ‘academic freedom’ matters: OPSEU


TORONTO – The suspension of four college professors at La Cité collégiale in Ottawa shows why college faculty must have the freedom, and the authority, to make decisions on academic matters, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says.

“La Cité has suspended four OPSEU members for standing up for the integrity of their profession,” said JP Hornick, chair of the college faculty bargaining team for OPSEU. “College administration wants faculty to say that students possess the full range of skills related to the practice of respiratory therapy whether they do or not.

“This just shows what faculty have been saying all along: college administrators are making decisions about academic programs that they are not qualified to make,” she said. “In this case, administrators are putting both students and the public in danger.”

The union has proposed that the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario be brought in to assist with the matter.

The return to work of over 12,000 faculty after a five-week strike that ended November 20 has been plagued by problems that are interfering with the colleges’ efforts to save students’ semesters, Hornick said. Bill 178, the back-to-work legislation passed November 19, requires the parties to abide by the existing faculty collective agreement, but the colleges are refusing to do so.

“Unless the colleges begin issuing new contracts and Standard Workload Forms to faculty to make up the lost time, we are heading for a crisis very soon,” she said. “Faculty are working hard to save the semester, but we will not do it in a way that violates our collective agreement or the law.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called the colleges’ antics “classic union busting.”

“The problems at La Cité, which is notoriously anti-union, are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The colleges are engaging in a centrally coordinated strategy that appears designed to bust the union even if it means sacrificing education quality. That’s why I’m calling on Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews to direct the colleges to obey Bill 178 and start cooperating with faculty to save the semester.”


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For more information: JP Hornick, 416-806-9526; Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Mona Chevalier, OPSEU college faculty bargaining team (French only), 613-606-2238

Update from the bargaining team

Here is our new update from bargaining team here 

New petition to get rid of Sinclair and the Council

OPSEU to file Charter challenge over college back-to-work law

Please read the following OPSEU press release :

OPSEU to file Charter challenge over college back-to-work law | OPSEU
Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is challenging the Ontario government’s latest back-to-work legislation in court. The province ended a five-week strike by Ontario college faculty November 20 by passing Bill 178, the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017, on November 19. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the law violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically Section 2 (d), which protects freedom of association.

In Solidarity,

The Bargaining Team

Strike purchase information for CAAT Pension Plan members

Strike purchase information from the CAAT Pension Plan 

Please share this email with your members. We are available to answer questions. Contact us via email at, or by phone at 1.866.350.2228. View this on our website

 2017 strike purchase information from the CAAT Pension Plan

As a Plan member who was on strike, you will be able to purchase the pensionable service lost during the strike.

The CAAT Plan is working on a special process “window” to efficiently deal with the expected high number of strike purchase requests. The window will start in June 2018.  Before then the Plan will be working with employers to receive and validate the data necessary to calculate strike purchases. We will roll out more details on this special process in the coming weeks through our website, newsletter and My Pension Newslink.

If you don’t make a 2017 strike purchase during this special window, you will be able to purchase it at a later date with no change in cost. All 2017 strike purchases will be based on your salary rate and the contribution rates at the start of the 2017 strike. In other words, the costing remains the same no matter when you make a 2017 strike purchase. 

If you terminate employment or retire before this special strike purchase window, you will have the chance to make your strike purchase before the special window starts.

To make any other kind of service purchase (for example a leave of absence or lay off) please follow the usual process.  More details

What do you have to do?

No action is required at this time to start your strike purchase.  In addition to any updates in our upcoming Newsletter, we will be regularly updating our website with information to help you make a decision about making the purchase, as well as details about the purchase process. If you wish to have these details sent directly to your email address as they become available, we encourage you to subscribe to My Pension NewsLink.

If you expect to terminate employment or retire on or before June 30, 2018, please read on for the steps you should take.

If you retire on or before June 30, 2018:

Strike purchases cannot be made after your retirement starts. If you want to make a strike purchase, you must make it before you retire. If you are planning to retire and want to make a strike purchase, you must notify your employer as soon as possible so they can start the purchase process. Your payment must be remitted with your Pension Application form.

For members whose Pension Application form has already been submitted, the CAAT Plan will contact you directly regarding the purchase.

If you terminate employment on or before June 30, 2018:

If you terminate employment, or expect to terminate, and want to make a strike purchase, you must notify your employer as soon as possible so they can start the purchase process. Any purchase must be completed no later than 30 days after your termination of employment. Normally, members cannot initiate a service purchase after their employment has ended; this special 30-day period is to give those terminated members who wish to make a 2017 strike service purchase the opportunity to do so.

Bulletin here 

Strike Pay and Wynne admits faults

Strike Week Five Pay is now available in the union office, which has hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For those faculty picketing at Perth or Pembroke, or at other colleges, your cheque will be available at your home campus.


Cheques for Pembroke will be delivered there on Thursday.



Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted on Monday evening during a town hall meeting in Toronto that there were issues with the College Employer Council and that there needed to be more accountability.

You can read the full story here: /


Local 415 Election: Call for nominations for local stewards

From Nelson Ross Laguna, OPSEU Staff Rep for Region 4, for immediate distribution… 
Subject: Local 415 Election
Term of Office: January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019
Steward Nominations close November 30, 2017 4:00PM.
Union elections are held in two stages. First is the election of stewards who are nominated and elected by members of their campus location. The elected stewards constitute the Local Executive Committee (LEC).
The second stage is the election of officers: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Chief Steward, Secretary and Treasurer. To be eligible for nomination as an officer, one must have been elected as a steward.
The number of stewards is determined by the number of union members on each campus:
Pembroke: 2
Perth: 1
Woodroffe: 40
Total: 43
Six Good Reasons to Run for Steward:
1. No experience is necessary and you will learn a great deal. Your learning will be supported by experienced members on the Local Executive, to whom you can refer any questions or problems.
2. It is not a major time commitment – minimally, one two-hour meeting per month and availability to answer or refer your colleagues’ questions. Beyond that, your level of involvement is up to you.
3. You will be actively involved in local decision-making.
4. It is informative: at our monthly meetings, you will find out from other stewards what is going on in other parts of the college.
5. You will earn the gratitude of your departmental colleagues who may come to you for assistance.
6. You will assist in building a strong organization to advocate for faculty.
Nominations must be sent to the Faculty Union Office in C215B by Thursday, November 30, 2017, 4:00 PM.
I, nominate _____________________________________ (Name of Nominee) to serve as steward for
____________________________________________, (Name of Campus) until December 2019. Signature of Nominator: __________________________________
 I, _____________________________________ accept the nomination (Signature of Nominee)

Update Sunday, November 19

Adele Yamada and Neil Hunter – their interviews regarding the return to work legislation on CBC Friday “All in a Day” show

Personal items left in the trailers
We collected a number of items from the three trailers on Friday. They will be available for retrieval from the Union Office (C215b) this week.
Letter to the editor: Response to the Ottawa Citizen editorial that appeared in Saturday’s edition
The editorial “Grading the Strike,” does a great disservice to the faculty of Algonquin College. While on the one hand the editorial says in a most off-hand manner  ”the union may have had good reasons to reject the offer “ (without articulating what those good reasons might be, and there were quite a few as reported in your own paper over the past five weeks), it then characterizes the response of faculty upon hearing news of the 86% vote to reject the employers’ atrocious offer as “unmitigated glee,” “celebrating the fact the students might well lose their term.”
If the nameless, faceless authors of this shameless piece of tabloid journalism had taken the time to review the facts as reported in the past five weeks by their own reporters, they ought to have known that no single faculty member has ever expressed the false sentiment the editorial claims.   
The moment captured by your photographer was one of relief: relief that a terrible offer that would not have addressed any of the issues that were at the root of the strike had been resoundingly rejected. Relief that the five weeks (although it should have only been three weeks had the employer acted responsibly and finished negotiations rather than walking away and prolonging the strike with their ill-conceived forced offer vote) of walking in rain, cold, and wind for quality education were not in vain. Relief that, for the many students who had walked the lines with us, sent us messages of support, and identified with the fight against precarious work, we did not abandon our principles and take a bad deal. And relief that, for the many members in our local community who are also struggling against the gig economy and who saw our strike as part of a larger social movement to put an end to precarious work, we remained resolute in our efforts to firmly reject a future where precarious work is the norm rather than an aberration.  
In short, if one were to apply the editorial’s grading system to the editorial itself, it would have received an unqualified F. Perhaps after faculty are back in the classroom where we want to be, the authors of the editorial might avail themselves of our Journalism Program where critical thinking and objective reporting are taught.  
Jack Wilson, Professor and
Proud Member of Algonquin College Faculty and First VP of OPSEU 415
Monday – return to work (the legislation HAS passed)
 The legislation may be found at this link

Strike Bulletin #6 and Message to Students

Attached here please find a bulletin and message to students for distribution to all members ASAP.  In it you will find information about return to work and suggestions on how faculty can keep up the the momentum we have built.

While the decision of the Wynne government to legislate us back is not the ideal way to end the strike, it is not the end of our battle by any stretch.  The team is prepared for whatever form the upcoming arbitration will take.  Indeed, in the history of our bargaining, our most important gains have come through arbitration–including both our SWF and our comparator groups.  This process simply extends our bargaining away from the table, and we stand to make significant gains in this process and the provincial task force.

To do so, we will need to stand together and stay mobilized for the months ahead.  When we return to the colleges next week, we need to do so with our heads held high.  This has been a historic round, and the best is yet to come.  Our rejection of the forced offer vote, in which 95% of our members voted 86% to reject the Council’s offer, has changed the face of bargaining in post-secondary systems in Ontario, and will have ripple effects across the labour movement.  Our strong stand on precarious work has led to the strengthening of Bill 148, and inspired other workers to stand up for their rights as well.
With that in mind, we strongly encourage you and your members to gather together on the morning of the return to work and walk in to each campus together in celebration of what we have accomplished as a single faculty standing in solidarity.
We remain committed to this fight for quality and fairness, and we will not rest until we have achieved our goals.
In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

OPSEU to government: disband College Employer Council


November 16, 2017
OPSEU to government: disband College Employer Council
TORONTO – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to disband the College Employer Council, the “private club” that represents 24 public colleges in collective bargaining.
“Today, after college faculty overwhelmingly rejected Council’s latest contract offer, we hoped real negotiations would ensue,” said JP Hornick, chair of the OPSEU college faculty bargaining team. “But in a joint meeting this afternoon with the Premier and Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews, it became clear that, of the three parties in the room, only two were concerned with saving the semester for hundreds of thousands of students.
“One of those parties, the College Employer Council, refused to accept that their approach to bargaining had failed, and refused to do anything to get our students back to class.”
In talks late this afternoon, Hornick said, Council refused to remove the “poison pills” in its offer and made no move toward a settlement – even when faculty offered to send a key item, academic freedom, to arbitration.
Commenting on a government move to introduce back-to-work legislation, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas laid the blame for it at Council’s door.
“When our team made a last-ditch effort to get students back in class on Monday, the colleges dug in even further,” he said. “If there is going to be legislation, it should include measures to disband the College Employer Council altogether.
“Council is a private club that is accountable to no one,” he said. “It is a small group of privileged people that asked for 30 to 40 per cent wage increases this year but are more than happy to make work more and more precarious for the frontline faculty who make education happen.
“Council is a shadowy agency beyond the reach of freedom-of-information and salary disclosure laws, yet it is funded entirely by public dollars and students’ tuition,” he said. “It exists for no other reason but to enrich its directors, and it should be outlawed.”
For more information: JP Hornick, 416-806-9526; Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Mona Chevalier, OPSEU college faculty bargaining team (French only)

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