A province-wide initiative is seeking union membership for part-time college support staff workers.
John Hanson, president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 416, is leading the campaign at Algonquin.
“It will reduce the turnstile type workforce that they’ve become,” he said. “It will also give them some ownership of their jobs.”
Hanson, a full time stationary engineer at the college, wants to see part-timers get better wages and full benefits like vacation pay and sick days.
“Stabilizing the work force – that’s the big thing,” said Hanson. “When people are happy and secure, they’ll stay. It will stop the revolving door.”
Hanson also believes the college will also benefit from the initiative.
“It’s expensive for the college to retrain their workers,” he explained. “Folks come in and out.”
Part-time workers have been employed at the college without union representation since 1965.
Still, many workers are reluctant to endorse the initiative.
“A lot of them are scared to sign a union card,” Hanson said. “They think that they’re going to lose a whole bunch of money. But what they gain will more than offset what they lose.”
Thirty-five per cent of the 16,500 employees must sign their union cards before Aug. 30, 2016.
A vote will then take place to decide whether to unionize.
Hanson is confident 70 per cent of Algonquin’s part-time work force will support the decision.
He encourages all workers to sign up online first. Then the local branch will help them sign the actual card.
“I just think it’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.
“For the college and the workers.”