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TORONTO, Ont. – Representatives of Ontario’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) joined striking college support workers at a rally this morning at George Brown College in Toronto. Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, expressed his union’s solidarity with the striking OPSEU members.
“College students in Ontario deserve a high quality education – which simply won’t happen if workers delivering supports at our Colleges aren’t valued and treated with respect. We stand together with our sisters and brothers in their effort to get a fair deal, not just because it’s what they deserve, but because it’s also what students need,” said Hahn.
College support workers walked off the job on September 1, after negotiations broke down over a long list of matters. One of the concerns support workers expressed is the college’s heavy reliance on part-time and temporary workers. Ontario colleges today have more part-time than full-time workers, and hire 22 percent of the temporary labour in the province.
“What Ontario needs is good jobs that let workers support their families. Too many workers are forced to cobble together a living from part-time work, and live with the stress of a string of temporary positions. That reality is not only bad for our economy and bad for families, but it’s also bad for college students. Workers in these tenuous circumstances can’t deliver the high quality of services students deserve. Frankly the colleges should be ashamed of the role they’re playing,” said Hahn.
Heavy reliance on part-time and temporary labour means that many college support staff have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. The result is longer hours, less time with families and the stress of not having a sense at all of job security.
The Canadian union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents more than 230,000 workers in Ontario. Its members work in health care, at schools and universities, for municipalities and provide a range of social services supports.
For more information, please contact:
Fred Hahn, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-540-3979
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316