On Monday, February 27th, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Ottawa District Labour Council and community activists picketed over Algonquin College’s unjust suspension of a union official following comments made to the Ottawa Citizen.
The protest is in response to the College’s decision to give a 30-day suspension to a union official for commenting to the Ottawa Citizen about the poor labour relations climate at the College. This follows a series of media reports about working relations and the high number of grievances that have been filed against Algonquin management.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says that the union will not tolerate any actions taken against elected local officials who speak out on behalf of the union.
“Not only has this member been suspended for 30 days, but she has also been given a gag order preventing her from speaking on this issue,” Thomas said. “This violates her Charter Rights, and is also a violation of her union rights and protections.”
Thomas says that this kind of heavy-handed approach goes a long way toward explaining why there are so many problems at Algonquin College.
“There are substantial labour relations issues at this college, and management will not solve them by disciplining and gagging those who speak out about it,” Thomas said. “We will vigorously defend our members, and not allow Algonquin management to sweep their dirty secrets under the rug.”