FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Strike Vote Results – Language Professors at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) of the University of Ottawa show Immense Solidarity in the Face of Ongoing Negotiations
Over the past five (5) days, language teachers at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) have expressed their support for the APTPUO Bargaining Committee by giving it the means and tools, including strike action, to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with the employer.
The Association reports that members of the OLBI unit voted 95% in favour of taking pressure tactics, up to and including strike action, should negotiations fail.
It is worth noting that last June, the Bargaining Committee also obtained an 88% strike vote for the main unit, which includes more than 2500 part-time professors.
“This is a strong and unequivocal vote of support from our members. The message is clear and we will continue our efforts to get a fair and equitable agreement,” commented Robert Johnson, President of the Association and Chair of the Bargaining Committee.
The OLBI language teachers ensure the integration of international students who wish to perfect one of the two official languages as a prerequisite to enter credit programs. Our professors also provide second language training for our students and staff. In short, the work of our members ensures the success of the University’s mandate towards Francophonie and bilingualism.
Unfortunately, the administration operates the OLBI department like a business and seems to be more concerned with making a profit from the programs than with achieving the objectives and expectations of the university community in terms of Francophonie and bilingualism.
“The administration is not even hiding it! We were clearly told that the OLBI is a business, meaning that decisions are made according to the profit generated on the backs of the students and professors. For a bilingual institution like the University of Ottawa, this is very shocking,” said Luc Angers, Vice President and member of the Bargaining Committee.
A favourable strike vote does not always result in an automatic strike. It simply provides the Bargaining Committee the support and the means to reach a fair agreement. A strong vote is often enough to get the employer back to the table.
“While both units share many of the same issues, language professors perform the same work for the same employer as those in the main unit, OLBI members’ working conditions are far from being equal to their main unit counterparts, ”explains Robert Johnson, President of the Association and Chair of the Bargaining Committee.
We cannot stress enough how disappointing it is to have to deal with such an intransigent employer who insists on making concessions and maintaining the status quo, despite the perseverance and flexibility shown by our members during the ongoing pandemic.
Dates for conciliation with the employer will be confirmed soon. With the strong support of its members, the Bargaining Committee is confident that a fair agreement can be reached without having to resort to a labour dispute.
Natasha Roy, Communication and Membership Service Officer
Telephone: 613-519-2787, 4374