Bill 148 and Equal Pay Update – June 27, 2018

Bill 148 requires all Ontario employers, including Seneca, to pay Part-Time employees the same as Full-Time employees who do substantially the same work, as of April 1st, 2018.  Seneca is currently working on implementing this policy, and has been meeting with local union reps to provide updates. We have been promised that once Seneca’s Human Resources Team has completed their analysis of which jobs are substantially the same, we will be notified. Part-time employees who will receive a pay increase will be sent a letter. All raises will be retroactive to April 1st, 2018, regardless of whether or not a part-time employee is still working for Seneca. If you have left, please ensure that Seneca has your banking information on file, or a current address.
If you do NOT agree with the college’s assessment, and feel you do substantially the same job as full-time co-workers, then you must write a letter to HR. A form has been created by the college for this purpose. The college will review your request for a re-assessment, and give you a decision in writing. The college has requested that part-time employees wait until they have completed their initial assessment before completing the form. If you are not satisfied with the College’s written response to your appeal, the issue can be referred to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. If you appeal the College’s decision and are successful at any stage, your pay will still be retroactive to April 1st, 2018.
For more information on the college’s process, go to:
To join a Webinar on Bill 148 Impementation at Seneca, Thursday, June 28th, at Noon, go to:
Your Local Stewards, with the backing of OPSEU’s legal advisors, are here to help you at each stage of the process. We will help you identify whether there are positions that are substantially the same as your’s; help you write the letter to the college if your pay is not increased; help present your case to the college and Labour Relations Board (and cover any legal costs associated). Being in a Union gives you the benefit of an organized approach where we can all learn from each other’s victories and losses. If there is a job that is substantially the same as your’s among over 600 full-time positions at Seneca, the together we will find it!
Your Local 561 Part-Time Mobilizers (Mackenzie Jenkins, Tizzianna Browne and Ryan Williams) have been busy organizing Equal Pay Clinics, to be held at each campus. The first one will be at Newnham, on Friday, June 29th, from 10 am to 6 pm. This will be our “experiment” to see if the process we have designed is efficient. We will then make adjustments and schedule clinics at each campus over the next four weeks.
If you wish to participate, please complete the attached Equal Pay Worksheet, and drop in during a clinic. You can also email your form to, and we will do our best to assist you electronically.

Notice of Ratification Vote – August, 2017

There will be a vote on the attached Offer to Extend our Current Collective Agreement by all members of the College Support Staff bargaining unit, across Ontario, on Tuesday, August 29th. Polling locations will be announced as soon as possible.

Our current Collective Agreement expires on August 31st, 2018. We have two choices. Take the offer attached, of a 7.75% pay increase and other cost-neutral improvements to our Collective Agreement, or turn it down, elect a bargaining team, set demands and go into regular bargaining.

Here is a link to the original announcement, if you were not on our first email:

Information sessions we be held this afternoon at Newnham Campus, and tomorrow at noon, at the Seneca@York campus. I did some sessions at Markham earlier this week and will do my best to hold sessions at King as soon as possible. I apologize for the short notice, but have to work around vacation times and other college visits. I have attached a complete list of stewards for those who have questions. I will also answer any questions at:
cell: (416) 540-9642

I am in support of this deal. It provides the highest pay increase achieved by a union in Ontario in the past few years, gives us some relief on days off to care for ill family members, catastrophic drug coverage, the first improvement in job security language in over 20 years (stronger contracting out language), and allows new parents to stretch their maternity leave (and benefits and pension) over an additional six months, if proposed EI changes are enacted next year.

Contract Extension Info Sessions

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Newnham Campus, Room TBA

4:30-5:00 pm

5:00-5:30 pm

5:30-6:00 pm


Friday, August 11, 2017

Seneca@York, Lower Kaleidescope Room

11:30 am – 12 pm

12-12:30 pm

12:30-1 pm

Note to New Members, Appendix D (replacement) employees and Summer student workers: everyone is entitled to vote and attend an information session, whether or not you have officially joined the union.

OPSEU Region 5 Election Results (March 2017)

Elections held on Saturday, March 18th, resulted in two new Executive Board Members (EBMs) for Region 5, representing the Toronto area locals within OPSEU. Jessica Sikora, the region’s Young Workers Committee rep and a solid activist televised last year by leading a protest where youth turned their backs on Justin Trudeau for his broken promises, is one of our new leaders. Julius Arscott, local president of Toronto employees of the Ministries of the Environment, Training, Health and others, is the other new EBM. Myles Magner, who received the most votes, is the only returning EBM and was also elected the Regional Vice President. Myles used his election speech to announce that he plans to run against Smokey Thomas for president of OPSEU, at our Convention in April.

There were quite a lot of changes to the Executive Board, with only 13 of the 21 existing EBMs voted back in, including both Smokey Thomas, our current President, and Eduardo Almeida, current 1st Vice President/Treasurer. Eight women were elected to the Union’s top leadership. Rod Bemister from Seneca was unsuccessful in his bid to regain a seat on the Executive Board, but by far got the most cheers when he spoke. Janice Hagan was acclaimed as the Region’s rep on the Union’s Constitution Committee. Delegates from Local 561 included Janice Hagan, Mary Kernohan, Virginia DiMonte, Tracy MacMaster, Rod Bemister, and alternate, Mark Olearo.


For more information and a full account of committee elections, please go to:

Johnson Insurance

As a member of OPSEU Local 561, you are eligible for reduced group rates on home and auto insurance from Johnson Insurance. A flyer is attached. Many members have taken advantage of these rates and also of OPSEU’s partnership with BAKA phones, for cheaper group rates on phone plans. You may need your union number to apply for these benefits. Your number should be on your union card. If you do not have it, you can get it from one of our elected officers.

2017 Ministry Rejects “Unrealistic” Salary Hike for Colleges’ Executives

OPSEU and student unions were among the many community groups who wrote submissions to the Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, about the proposals submitted by Colleges to increase president and vice president salaries by 26-54%, after a mandatory “public consultation process” that for most all colleges involved posting a small notice on their website from Exam Week in December, through the holiday shut down period, ending in the first week of January, when staff, faculty and students were distracted by holidays and the chaos of semester Start-Up. Kudos for Seneca, who posted the notice on their main page and allowed submissions until the end of last week.

However, the Ministry has rejected the plans for the “unrealistic” increase, especially for the executives of Ontario’s smallest colleges, who face declining enrollment and deficits. The submission on behalf of OPSEU’s College Support Staff is available on our local website at the following link:

Ensure Your i3 Attendance is Accurate and Up-to-Date

All members should regularly check their vacation and sick day balances on i3, as well as their pay stubs. You are responsible for bringing any errors to your supervisor’s attention as soon as possible. The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes to remember specifics and fix issues. Based on the experience of our members who have had difficulty, we recommend that all employees keep their own record of sick days and vacation days taken.

Maintaining your absences on i3 is especially important when on extended sick leaves. If the sick days are not entered on i3 in a timely fashion, you may be over-paid, resulting in a radically reduced pay cheque once the college catches up. If you are on sick leave, ensure that you or your supervisor is recording your sick days each week, to avoid such surprises. If you have questions, contact a member of our Accommodation and Return to Work Committee.

Local 561 General Membership Meeting Monday, February 6, 2017 5:30-7:00 pm Senecentre, Newnham Campus

Delegate Elections, Dinner and Door Prizes! Agenda and Proposed 2017 Budget are attached. Please RSVP to, by the end of today, so we have enough to eat. Please come out to approve a local budget for 2017 and elect local delegates to convention and our Fall Pre-Bargaining Conference. We will also be recruiting members for our Local Committees. A complete list of stewards, officers and local union committees is attached.