Tracey Tong/metro ottawa


OPSEU president of part-timers and sessionals Roger Couvrette tacks up a copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms at Algonquin College as part-time Algonquin instructor Caron Fitzpatrick looks on.


A recruitment drive has turned into a dispute over freedom of speech after union members say Algonquin College forbade them from bringing their campaign onto campus property.

The city college is one of the few in Ontario that opposes the Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s (OPSEU) part-time worker membership drive, according to Roger Couvrette, president of the provincial organization of part-timers and sessionals and a former part-time English teacher at Algonquin College.

The union was unable yesterday to speak to part-time instructors, staff and students in the college’s common areas, he said.

“It’s disgusting that an institution of higher learning that is supposed to set standards is taking the low road and putting obstructions in place that hinders the rights of its workers to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly” said Couvrette. “The college has no right to stop workers from finding out about the organizing drive.”

Members of OPSEU tacked up a copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in protest.

College spokesman Andrew McKelvey said Algonquin does respect the right to organize but “we ask that on-campus union-organizing activities not disrupt college business.”