Algonquin College union protests employee's suspension over criticism of labour relations

February 28, 2012

OPSEU members held a protest Monday in response to Algonquin College's decision to suspend a financial aid officer for 30 days for writing a letter to the Ottawa Citizen criticizing the college administration for wasting money. In reaction to media reports describing a "spectacular level" of grievances at Algonquin, the employee called labour relations at the institution "toxic." Algonquin's VP of human resources says the letter drew a suspension because "when you start to say things that are unfounded and untruthful and that damage the reputation of the college, we feel we have to answer that because that's not freedom of speech," adding that "when someone crosses the line we have to take action, based on the legal advice we obtained." "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," says OPSEU's president. "We will vigorously defend our members, and not allow Algonquin management to sweep their dirty secrets under the rug." The Algonquin VP says labour relations are not that bad at the institution, and they are improving. "We're very fortunate that, irrespective of what was happening (Monday), I think we maintain an excellent working relationship with our support staff union." OPSEU News Release | Ottawa Citizen | Metro Ottawa