- Week 4: Day 1

Dear Colleagues,
They are still at the table tonight. Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be any deal to forestall picketing tomorrow. We must show our resolve at our picket lines, ready to begin week four. The following letter from a George Brown professor submitted to the Toronto Star crossed my screen today. I believe it articulates the right sentiment for this time.
I hate being on strike. Being on strike is never enjoyable, and especially not when you love your job. I am a full-time professor and I have been on strike for the past three weeks. I voted for the strike not because I have anything to gain from it personally.

Quite the contrary, I assumed from the outset that I would lose weeks of salary. I am on strike not for myself but on behalf of a principle. This strike presents all of us in Ontario with a fundamental question: what kind of society do we want to live in? Do we want a society of precarious part-time jobs? Only twenty percent of college professors in Ontario are full-time. Our union has asked for that number to be increased to fifty percent. The College Employer Council (CEC) claims that this important change is unrealistic due to cost. Yet the colleges have posted a $188 million surplus over the past year alone. Beyond the obvious financial ability of our colleges to treat their employees fairly, this is a debate about our vision of the future.

 I am striking for a better society, a society which enables full-time employment.
And I would add that we are striking for our own students, for their job prospects. We are charged with preparing our students for the job market. This is our chance to exert our influence on the future of jobs in Ontario.
A strong picketing turnout is the best way to support our Bargaining Team.
Let us stand strong together,

Jack Urowitz,
President, OPSEU Local 244
Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
(905) 845-9430 Extension 2832
Union Office 4065