Today you may have heard that Part-Time and Sessional employees at Centennial College received an email announcing that their wage increase for Oct 2019 was being cancelled. This move is mean-spirited, an attack on their professionalism, and an insult to the hard work & energy they give to the College every single day. And it’s just plain wrong.

Let me state OPSEU’s position perfectly clearly: there’s absolutely no language in the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act that prevents Centennial from increasing Part-Time and Sessional wages. As the College knows well, the Act states that during a union certification process, the terms and conditions of employment binding on the College Employer Council, the employer, the union or the employees shall not be altered unless there’s an agreement between the Council and the union. Not surprisingly, neither Centennial nor the Council has asked OPSEU if it would consent to granting a wage increase. (Spoiler alert: we’d be happy to consent.)

In fact, in OPSEU’s view, not increasing Part-Time and Sessional wages is itself an “alteration” of the terms and conditions of employment. This is because it violates Centennial’s well-established past practice of linking Part-Time and Sessional wage increases to Partial Load wage increases.

For the benefit of Centennial’s HR department, here’s a history lesson: Centennial has increased wages for Part-Time and Sessional employees continuously since 2015. Many of you will remember past-President Ann Buller’s announcement in Feb 2015 that Part-Time and Sessional wage rates would be set as a percentage of Partial Load wage rates. They’ve moved in tandem with Partial Load rates ever since.

In fact, on Oct 1, 2018 – just a little over a year ago – Centennial increased wages for Part-Time and Sessional employees in line with the wage increase received by Partial Load employees. Wages went up by 2 per cent. Yet the “current legal environment” (that is, the union certification process for contract faculty), which Centennial claims is preventing them from increasing wages, is exactly the same today as it was back then. If the legal environment is the same, why is Centennial acting differently this Fall by denying Part-Time and Sessional employees a wage increase?

Our position is crystal clear: Part-Timers and Sessionals at Centennial College deserve a raise. OPSEU wants them to have a raise. And we call on Centennial to implement their scheduled raise immediately.

We ask that you please share this information with your Part-Time and Sessional colleagues and offer them solidarity on behalf of Full-time and Partial Load faculty in these difficult times.

In solidarity,

RM Kennedy
President, OPSEU Local 558