TORONTO, Ont. - The Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC), representing more than 18,000 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) university workers in Ontario, stands solidly behind CUPE 3902 at the University of Toronto and CUPE 3906 at McMaster University, in their fight to get good collective agreements.
While the specific issues at each campus may differ, the issues and problems underlying both negotiations are the same.
Chronic underfunding of the university sector by the McGuinty Liberals has lead to increased tuition fees, on-going privatization on campuses across the province, and a lack of job security, this has been a factor in labour unrest with contract faculty across Ontario.
“Quality of education is at stake when contract faculty are not given fair remuneration for all their work, when classes are overcrowded, instructors are forced to re-apply for their jobs every four to eight months, and contract faculty do not have enough time to meet face to face with students,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, chair of the OUWCC.
“At both these universities CUPE members are an integral part of the undergraduate programs,” said Folk-Dawson. “Yet their work is not recognized appropriately. At McMaster protection from tuition increases that directly impact the quality and accessibility of higher education is a major issue.
“At U of T, the sessional instructors, most of whom are Ph.D.s, are seeking support for research and scholarly activity and wage increases to keep up with comparable wage rates for contract faculty in the GTA, and a system that does not force them to re-apply for their positions every few months.”
OUWCC also supports the demands for job, income, and benefit security. “We have a serious problem with the post secondary education sector in their province,” Folk-Dawson continued.
“Ontario currently ranks last of all provinces in terms of per student funding for post-secondary education and has the highest tuition fees in Canada. The McGuinty government needs to put an adequate amount of money into the system. Failure to do so will result in an ongoing crisis in the university sector”.
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For further information, contact:
Janice Folk-Dawson, Chair, OUWCC, 519 766-8376
Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications, 416 892-8716