University professors and academic librarians are joining in a day of action for $15 & Fairness across Ontario today. Workers from a range of workplaces and sectors will be taking part – all of whom are facing common challenges such as unpredictable scheduling, job insecurity, poor access to benefits, and unfair pay.
“The idea that a PhD is a golden ticket to a good job is increasingly inaccurate,” said Fran Cachon a contract professor at the University of Windsor. “Today, young scholars – who are increasingly women and people of colour – are struggling to find footing in the academy. It is our frustration with this reality motivating us to demand fairness alongside other workers in our communities.”
Contract professors must struggle with unfair pay, poor access to benefits, and must often string together multiple contracts at different universities just to make a living. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) estimates the number of courses taught by contract faculty teaching at Ontario universities has doubled since 2000. But a recent poll showed that Ontarians believe universities should be moving in the other direction, with 94 per cent saying that universities should be model employers and support good jobs in their communities.
With the Ontario government currently reviewing employment and labour law to address the rise of precarious work, the timing is right to consider change. OCUFA has made recommendations to the Changing Workplaces Review on how to raise standards for contract faculty and to update labour law to ensure all workers can organize collectively in a union. The proposals include requiring equal pay for work of equal value and equal access to benefits for contract workers, and requiring that all workers receive reasonable notice of their schedules.
“We’re standing up today to say contract workers in all sectors deserve better,” said OCUFA President Judy Bates. “Faculty working conditions are the learning conditions in our classrooms, labs, and libraries. When we ensure that every academic job is a good job, we create a quality learning experience for students.”
OCUFA is one of over 50 community and labour organizations that is part of the Fight for $15 & Fairness across Ontario. Supporters of fairness for contract faculty can sign a pledge that was launched by OCUFA’s We Teach Ontario campaign.