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:

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:

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. 

Your Next Step for Bargaining: Register for the April 11th Tele-Town Hall Meeting NOW.

Dear College Support Part-time member,     

You are invited to join a special tele-town hall with President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida and the College Support Part-Time Staff bargaining team on Wednesday, April 11, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Please confirm today that you want us to dial you in for this important interactive conference call!

We received more than 2700 responses to our bargaining survey, thank you.

The feedback from the survey will be used for this important next step: What are our key demands at the bargaining table, and what is their order of priority?

 Join the discussion, vote on our key issues, and choose the priority sequence of those issues for bargaining.


Please click on the link to let us know you will join us. You will be asked to provide your contact information so that you can be dialed in on April 11.

Sign me up!


Part Time College Delegates Elect a Bargaining Team

On March 24 and 25, two part time college support delegates from almost every college in Ontario got together for a two-day meeting to discuss strategies for Bargaining and Mobilizing to achieve a First Contract for our newest bargaining unit. A Bargaining Team was elected, with student and non-student representation. Your new Bargaining Team includes:

Ted Claeys, Chair

Fanshawe College, OPSEU Local 124

Duncan McFarlane, Vice Chair

Algonquin College, OPSEU Local 416

Christopher Millado

George Brown College, OPSEU Local 557

Jennifer Ayotte

Cambrian College, OPSEU Local 656

A number of alternates were also elected, including Seneca’s own Mackenzie Jenkins (Learning Centre, Seneca@York). In addition, the Team will include two ex-officio members (advice but no vote). Janice Hagan of Seneca College, and Chair of the College Support Full Time Divisional Executive, and Connie Collins, Chair of the College Support Full Time Bargaining Team will provide administrative support and liaison between the Part Time and Full Time units. We want to ensure our new bargaining unit has all of our resources and history at their finger tips.


The Team will be hosting a Tele-Town-Hall Meeting on April 11th, to collect your votes on priorities for the First Contract. They will be developing strategies for communication and negotiations, and expect to hit the Table with Management in the next month.

College Denying Union Use of College Email and Facilities for Part-Time

To date, Seneca College has denied OPSEU Local 561 the use of college email to contact our new part-time union members, and the use of college facilities to hold meetings for part-time employees. OPSEU has appealed to the Employer Council to secure permission for locals, who regularly use college email and facilities to support bargaining and demand-setting meetings for full-time employees. In the meantime, we are using our web site, personal emails (where we have them), Facebook, posters and word of mouth, to reach our new members, and encourage them to complete their bargaining survey.

How can you help? Forward the bargaining survey link, or a link to, to all of your part-time co-workers, through their personal email. If you are part-time, please sign a Union Card, so we have your non-Seneca email address, and can add you to our email list. If you do not wish to sign a card at this time but want to get all the news related to bargaining, then send us your non-Seneca email address to


FOLLOW UP: After a discussion with the Council and HR departments at various colleges, it was agreed that the Union could utilize the same employer facilities as they normally are allowed to utilize for full-time employees. The first email went out from Local 561 to all known Part-Time staff on March 14, 2018.