Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Right to bargain

English-language teachers in Ontario Colleges (and elsewhere) are disproportionately non-full time workers. In our EAP department, for instance, fewer than 2/3 of the classes are taught by full-time faculty.

In Ontario, most part-time and contract college faculty have been denied the right to join a union. These workers are supported by the CAAT division of OPSEU and have set up their own non-bargaining group, OPSECAAT, but have never had the right to bargain collectively. It looks as though change may be coming.

Back in June, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that,

"The right to bargain collectively with an employer enhances the human dignity, liberty and autonomy of workers by giving them the opportunity to influence the establishment of workplace rules and thereby gain some control over a major aspect of their lives, namely their work."

However, the Ontario government will not reconvene until after the October election, so there will be no legislative changes until then. As far as I can tell, none of the parties, not even the labour-friendly NDP, has made any mention of this ruling in their platform. Finally, the Supremes have given governments a year to address the issue, so we shouldn't expect anything to change soon.

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