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OCUFA stands in solidarity with Ontario’s college faculty

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On Monday, over 12,000 faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges went on strike. For over three months, they have been working hard at the bargaining table, pushing for a better plan for Ontario’s colleges, including fairness for contract faculty, collegial governance that includes faculty in academic decision-making, and academic freedom.

Unfortunately, the College Employer Council rejected a last-minute faculty proposal aimed at averting a strike. The colleges even refused to agree to no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom. This left college faculty with no choice but to withdraw their services until the College Employer Council is ready to come back to the table and put forward a fair offer.

Ontario’s university faculty and academic librarians stand in solidarity with our college colleagues, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). The issues they are fighting for are vital ones that are foundational for the delivery of high-quality postsecondary education for Ontario’s students.

On September 28, OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips sent a letter to the Chairs of OPSEU’s Ontario College Faculty Division and Bargaining Team. In it she argues that it is unacceptable that over 80 per cent of faculty at Ontario colleges are working on contract, and expresses support for college faculty as they work to enhance the academic integrity and governance of Ontario’s colleges.

Now is the time for college administrators to show leadership, return to the table, and invest in good jobs that will provide a strong educational foundation for college students for years to come.

Here are some of the many ways you can show your support for college faculty today:

Send a message to Ontario’s 24 college Presidents, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Deputy Premier Deb Matthews telling them faculty deserve a fair collective agreement.

Call your local MPP.

Connect with a college faculty representative at your local campus and join the picket line.

Write a letter to your local newspaper.

Share your messages of support on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to use the hashtags #abetterplan or #standwithfaculty.

OCUFA announces winners of the 2016-2017 Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards

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TORONTO – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) is pleased to announce the winners of its prestigious Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards. Since 1973, these awards have recognized the exceptional contributions made by professors and librarians to the quality of higher education in Ontario.

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

The 2016-2017 Teaching Award recipients are:

  • Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor
  • Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University
  • Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University
  • Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University
  • Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

The 2016-2017 Academic Librarianship Award recipients are:

  • Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor
  • Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto

The 44th annual awards ceremony, hosted by CBC’s Paul Kennedy, will take place at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto on October 21, 2017.

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 professors and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system.

University of Windsor’s Dora Cavallo-Medved wins prestigious OCUFA teaching award

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TORONTO – Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor, has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). She will receive a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award at an October 21, 2017 ceremony in Toronto, hosted by CBC personality Paul Kennedy.

“Dora Cavallo-Medved’s creative teaching style is loved and recognized by students,” said Professor Judy Bornais, Chair of OCUFA’s Award Committee. “She sees students as partners in the learning experience, and many credit her for their continued success in academia.”

The other recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award are:

  • Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University
  • Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University
  • Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University
  • Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

The recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award are:

  • Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor
  • Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.

McMaster University’s Kimberley Dej wins prestigious OCUFA teaching award

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TORONTO – Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University, has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Professor Dej will receive a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award at an October 21, 2017 ceremony in Toronto, hosted by CBC personality Paul Kennedy.

“Professor Dej’s teaching truly embodies her philosophy that every student is engaged and able to pursue their scientific curiosity,” said Professor Judy Bornais, Chair of OCUFA’s Award Committee. “Her pedagogy and thoughtful mentoring generates enthusiasm which leads to student empowerment – something that her nominators hold in high regard.”

The other recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award are:

  • Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor
  • Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University
  • Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University
  • Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

The recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award are:

  • Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor
  • Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.

McMaster University’s Milena Head wins prestigious OCUFA teaching award

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TORONTO – Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University, has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Professor Head will receive a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award at an October 21, 2017 ceremony in Toronto, hosted by CBC personality Paul Kennedy.

“In addition to providing support and mentorship to her students, Professor Head continuously seeks to improve her teaching approaches,” said Professor Judy Bornais, Chair of OCUFA’s Award Committee. “In particular, her focus on experiential learning allows students to gain a rich understanding of the implications of their decisions.”

The other recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award are:

  • Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor
  • Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University
  • Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University
  • Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

The recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award are:

  • Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor
  • Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.

University of Windsor’s Karen Pillon wins prestigious OCUFA academic librarianship award

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TORONTO – Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor, has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding academic librarians by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Pillon will receive a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award at an October 21, 2017 ceremony in Toronto, hosted by CBC personality Paul Kennedy.

“Through her work with public libraries, high schools, and social service agencies, Karen Pillon’s passion for learning and research has impacted students beyond the University of Windsor campus,” said Professor Judy Bornais, Chair of OCUFA’s Award Committee. “Her commitment to accessible learning and innovative teaching methods is praiseworthy.”

The other recipient of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award is:

  • Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto

The recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award are:

  • Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor
  • Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University
  • Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University
  • Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University
  • Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.

Western University’s Quazi Rahman wins prestigious OCUFA teaching award

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TORONTO – Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University, has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Professor Rahman will receive a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award at an October 21, 2017 ceremony in Toronto, hosted by CBC personality Paul Kennedy.

“The passion professor Rahman has for the subject matter he teaches is clear,” said Professor Judy Bornais, Chair of OCUFA’s Award Committee. “It’s a passion he ignites in others, while providing safe and supportive spaces for his students. His dedication and creativity makes him deserving of an OCUFA Teaching Award.”

The other recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award are:

  • Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor
  • Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University
  • Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University
  • Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

The recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award are:

  • Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor
  • Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.

Carleton University’s Mira Sucharov wins prestigious OCUFA teaching award

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TORONTO – Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University, has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Professor Sucharov will receive a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award at an October 21, 2017 ceremony in Toronto, hosted by CBC personality Paul Kennedy.

“Professor Sucharov’s courses demonstrate a level of experimentation and risk-taking not always common in the study of political science,” said Professor Judy Bornais, Chair of OCUFA’s Award Committee. “Her teaching style, imbued with openness and empathy, is laudable. It is clear through students’ testimonies that they hold her and her courses in high regard.”

The other recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award are:

  • Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor
  • Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University
  • Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University
  • Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University

The recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award are:

  • Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor
  • Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.

University of Toronto’s Mindy Thuna wins prestigious OCUFA academic librarianship award

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TORONTO – Mindy Thuna, Head of the Engineering and Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto, has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding academic librarians by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Thuna will receive a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award at an October 21, 2017 ceremony in Toronto, hosted by CBC personality Paul Kennedy.

“Mindy Thuna is an inspiration to librarians and faculty everywhere,” said Professor Judy Bornais, Chair of OCUFA’s Award Committee. “She has served as co-instructor in over fifteen courses, embedding research and information into their curriculums and fostering the academic success of countless students.”

The other recipient of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award is:

  • Karen Pillon, Head of Access Services at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor

The recipients of a 2016-2017 OCUFA Teaching Award are:

  • Dora Cavallo-Medved, a permanent lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor
  • Kimberley Dej, Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University
  • Milena Head, Professor of Information Systems at McMaster University
  • Quazi Mehbubar Rahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University
  • Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

“Professors and academic librarians are at the heart of our universities. They challenge and encourage their students to embrace new ideas and build a brighter future,” said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. “This year’s distinguished winners are all dedicated to and passionate about their work, and OCUFA is honoured to recognize them with teaching and librarianship awards.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.

OCUFA offers fullest support to OPSEU college faculty in province-wide bargaining

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Over 12,000 faculty at all 24 public colleges across the province represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) are currently bargaining for a better plan for Ontario colleges, including fairness for contract faculty, collegial governance, and academic freedom. OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips sent this letter of support to RM Kennedy, Chair of Ontario College Faculty Division and JP Hornick, Chair of Ontario College Faculty Bargaining Team (via email to ) on September 28, 2017.

Dear RM Kennedy and JP Hornick,

On behalf of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and the 17,000 full-time and contract university professors and academic librarians we represent at 28 member associations across the province, I am writing to express our fullest support in your current bargaining for a better plan for Ontario colleges.

Fairness and equal pay for contract faculty, collegial governance that includes faculty in academic-decision making, and academic freedom are all crucial for ensuring quality postsecondary education for Ontario students. Your commitment to these important issues is shared by university professors and academic librarians across the province.

It is unacceptable that over 80 per cent of faculty at Ontario colleges are working on contract. Universities have also been hiring more and more professors on short-term contracts, with low wages, no job security, and limited access to benefits. Estimates suggest that since 2000, the number of courses taught by sessional contract faculty has doubled at Ontario universities.

Sessional contract professors often work at the same institution for many years, even decades, but still have to re-apply for their job every four months. This precarious work arrangement lacks basic respect and has negative impacts on general and mental health, household well-being and community participation. Improving job security for contract faculty is a necessary step that would allow contract faculty to plan their lives, offer more stability in the system, and deliver benefits for the quality of education offered to students.

Contract faculty are also paid significantly less than their full-time colleagues for teaching the same courses. Addressing equal pay will help close the pay gap for women and racialized workers who are overrepresented in part-time, contract, and temporary employment. We know that in the college system over 75 per cent of the lowest paid contract faculty are women, and research shows about two thirds of contract faculty at Ontario universities are women.

The government has already made a commitment to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value in Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. Colleges in Ontario have an opportunity to get ahead of the law and commit to equal pay for contract faculty in this round of bargaining. There is wide support for equal pay — a recent poll showed 85 per cent of Ontarians believe contract professors should receive equal pay for the same work as their full-time colleagues.

University faculty also support your efforts to increase the complement of full-time faculty at Ontario colleges. It is unacceptable that in recent decades full-time faculty hiring has dropped while enrolment has doubled in the college system. We know first hand that it is absolutely critical that faculty hiring keeps pace with student enrolment. When it doesn’t, the number of students grows while the number of professors shrinks, resulting in less one-on-one engagement, fewer opportunities for mentorship, and larger class sizes — all of which significantly compromise student success

As university faculty, we understand that collegial governance is central to the preservation of academic integrity and is necessary to ensure Ontario’s universities remain vibrant spaces committed to delivering quality education to students. Introducing collegial governance at Ontario’s colleges, including academic senates with majority faculty representation alongside students and administrators, would help to ensure that academic decisions are made with input from those best placed to advise on these matters.

At the course level, your call for a minimum standard that guarantees academic freedom for college faculty is sensible. Academic freedom is necessary to ensure academic standards and the quality of your students’ degree programs. As university faculty, we know that without academic freedom — the ability to pursue research, explore ideas, and teach concepts free from fear or interference — the broader role of our institutions in society of promoting democracy and fostering critical thinking is threatened.

The issues that college faculty are prioritizing in this round of bargaining are at the heart of our ability as faculty to deliver high-quality postsecondary education to students across the province. A course correction at Ontario’s colleges is needed to move away from a reliance on contract faculty and to ensure faculty are included in academic decision-making. The status quo is unfair to those working in these precarious jobs, and to students who deserve quality, stability and continuity in their educational experience.

With the government taking steps to make labour law more fair for workers and the growing public support for these measures, now is the time for colleges to show leadership and invest in good jobs that will provide a strong educational foundation for college students for years to come. Ontario’s university professors and academic librarians thank you for your leadership on these important issues, and support you in your efforts to get a fair deal for college faculty.

Sincerely,

Gyllian Phillips

President, OCUFA

Cc:
Peter McKeracher, College Employer Council ()
Sonia Del Missier, College Employer Council ()
Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development ()
Hon. Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour ()
MPP Peggy Sattler, NDP Critic for Advanced Education, Skills and Development ()
MPP Lorne Coe, PC Critic for Post-Secondary Education ()
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President ()

 

OCUFA sends letter to Premier urging stronger equal pay provisions in Bill 148

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The letter below was sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne on September 27 from Dr. Frankie Cachon, a contract faculty member at the University of Windsor and Chair of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee.

 

Dear Premier Wynne,

I am a contract faculty member at the University of Windsor and Chair of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee. I am heartened that your government is responding to the widespread desire for decent working conditions and wages expressed by Ontarians with Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

The commitment to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value for part-time, contract, and temporary workers in Bill 148 is a step in the right direction. However, the legislation needs to be strengthened to ensure that it will be effective. Current loopholes and broad exceptions will allow employers to avoid paying their contract and part-time employees equally.

As Bill 148 moves through second reading, we recommend that the following changes be made:

  • The equal pay provision be amended to expand the scope of comparable work by replacing the language of “substantially the same” with “similar” or “of equal value”. Historically, the proposed language of work that is “substantially the same” has been interpreted narrowly when it comes to protecting women from unequal pay due to sex discrimination, enabling employers to manipulate minor job duties to maintain unequal pay. Replacing the language of “substantially the same” with work that is “similar” or “of equal value” would help avoid the use of minor differences to justify unequal pay.
  • The exceptions in the proposed equal pay provision for “quantity or quality of production” and “any other factor” be removed. The scope for exceptions in the proposed legislation is too wide. Experiences with existing pay equity legislation have proven that, to be effective, the language needs be tightened. Historically, “other factors” has been interpreted loosely – even to include an employer’s wage structure – when women have challenged gender pay discrimination. It is crucial that exceptions to the equal pay entitlement be limited to objective factors, such as seniority and merit.
  • The definition of seniority based on hours worked be removed. Defining seniority based on hours worked rather than date of hire will entrench inequality between full-time and part-time workers, defeating the intent of these equal pay protections.

Equal pay for work of equal value is an important issue for Ontario’s contract faculty. For more than a decade, universities have been hiring more and more professors on short-term contracts, with low wages, no job security, and limited access to benefits. Estimates suggest that since 2000, the number of courses taught by sessional contract faculty has doubled at Ontario universities. This is also an issue at Ontario colleges where over 80 per cent of faculty are working on contract. Sessional contract professors are paid significantly less than their full-time colleagues for teaching the same courses.

If the equal pay provisions are not strengthened, women and racialized workers, who are over-represented in part-time, contract and temporary employment, will continue to be left behind. We know that in the college system over 75 per cent of the lowest paid contract faculty are women, and research shows about two thirds of contract faculty at Ontario universities are women. Strong equal pay protections in Bill 148 are a crucial step towards closing the gender wage gap.

For these reasons, I urge you to remove these loopholes, and provide Ontarians with access to strong equal pay protections. As Bill 148 progresses through the legislature, OCUFA will be engaging with the process, and we will be watching to see whether this government is actually serious about decent work and fairness for Ontario workers.

Sincerely,

Frankie Cachon
Chair, OCUFA Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee

 

cc:

Hon. Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour

Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

MPP Peggy Sattler, NDP Critic for Advanced Education, Skills and Development

MPP Lorne Coe, PC Critic for Post-Secondary Education

 

Faculty from across Ontario participate in the Fight for $15 and Fairness Campus Assembly

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On September 15 and 16, the first ever Fight for $15 & Fairness Provincial Campus Assembly took place at the University of Toronto. Faculty from universities across Ontario attended and took part in discussions and workshops about how to win stronger labour legislation, as well as how to advance the $15 and Fairness agenda on campuses through collective bargaining and by uniting students, staff, and faculty.

On the first day, panel discussions allowed participants to delve into what fairness means for contract faculty, casual workers, food service workers, students, temporary agency workers, and all workers in the campus community. A lunchtime panel focused on how decent work and a $15 minimum wage are good for our health, good for equity, good for business, and good for the economy. The second day featured skills-building workshops to enhance participants’ ability to mobilize and organize around labour issues on campus.

Frankie Cachon, Chair of OCUFA’s Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee provided welcoming remarks, and the voices of contract faculty were prominent throughout the Assembly. There was a planning caucus dedicated to fairness for contract faculty and an address from Kimberly Ellis-Hale of the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association, which spoke to her experience as a contract professor and single mother who has taught almost 100 courses but still has to reapply for her job every term. College faculty represented by OPSEU, who held a successful strike vote on September 14, highlighted their key outstanding issues, including job security, equal pay, and benefits for contract faculty. You can show your support for college faculty bargaining demands by signing their petition.

Assembly attendees were delighted to participate in the Friday Evening Forum moderated by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, the Toronto Star journalist who recently went undercover to investigate temporary employment agencies. That forum highlighted the importance of allyship and mutual support among all groups working towards fairer working conditions on campus – a theme that emerged throughout the event. The Assembly also celebrated the leadership of women workers of colour in the $15 and Fairness campaign and recognized the importance of centering the voices of the most marginalized workers. There was a panel on Challenging Islamobophobia, Racism and Anti-Semitism and speeches by York food service workers fighting discrimination in the workplace who recently won their strike for $15 and Fairness.

With Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 entering the second phase of consultations, building capacity on campus to strengthen provisions around equal pay for equal work language and fairer scheduling measures is more important now than ever.

Support faculty at Laurentian: Send a letter

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Members of the Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA) in Sudbury have been working hard to negotiate a fair collective agreement with the university administration. Despite several days in mediation, the parties are approaching an impasse and a strike may be imminent.

LUFA is asking the administration to come to the table and agree to a fair settlement that:

  • re-invests in research and the classroom, including a fair faculty workload;
  • increases the openness and transparency with which the university operates; and
  • protects and promotes the positive, enriching learning environments Laurentian students expect.

To put pressure on the university administration to agree to a fair deal and avoid a strike, LUFA is asking supporters to send a letter to Laurentian University’s President, Vice-President, and Board Chair expressing support for Laurentian’s hardworking faculty.

Sending a letter of support is easy. Just click on the link below and add your name. A template letter is provided, but you are encouraged to add your own message.

Support faculty at Laurentian, send a letter of support here: https://lufappul.ca/wp/?p=1260

Once you have signed the letter, remember to share it with your friends and colleagues.

A new French-language university in Ontario

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The Government of Ontario recently announced that in the coming months it will put forward legislation to create a new French-language university, by and for Francophones.

The announcement follows the August 28, 2017 release of the French-Language University Planning Board’s report on the feasibility of establishing a new French-language university in Central-Southwestern Ontario. Struck last fall and chaired by Dr. Dyane Adam, a former official languages commissioner of Ontario, the Board’s mandate was to establish a vision for a new university, encompassing everything from a potential educational project to its business model.

The report recommends the creation of an autonomous, French-language university in downtown Toronto that would be named the “Université de l’Ontario français”. Its educational project would be structured around four areas of programming and research: human plurality, urban environments, globalized economy, and digital cultures. The university would also offer joint undergraduate and graduate programming entirely in French, as well as provide certificates of French-language proficiency to support Francophone and Francophile students. The Board anticipates that by 2029, enrolment at the university would reach 2,000 full-time students.

Establishing a new university provides an opportunity to implement a governance model more representative of the university community, which could serve as an example for other institutions. There is also room to advocate for the creation of good jobs that are fairly compensated, have access to benefits, and are not precarious.

However, there are several areas of concern, including the potential negative impacts the university could have on existing bilingual and Francophone institutions and a proposed business model that reaffirms current trends towards privatization. The report also features proposals for faculty hiring, with a heavy reliance on contract faculty and substantial demands for faculty to plan and deliver the new teaching initiatives recommended by the French-Language University Planning Board.

Thankfully, the recommendations in the report are not set in stone. There will be several opportunities for OCUFA and faculty associations to engage with government about the proposed plan for this new French-language university, particularly through the legislative process. OCUFA will continue to monitor this file and ensure the voices of faculty are strongly represented in the development of Ontario’s newest university.

Editorial advocates for changes to Bill 148 and fairness for contract faculty

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On Monday, the Windsor Star published an editorial by OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips and Frankie Cachon, Chair of OCUFA’s Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee.

The editorial provides background on the growing number of contract faculty being employed in Ontario’s postsecondary education system. Phillips and Cachon present faculty perspectives on Bill 148 and point to exceptions in the proposed legislation that would allow universities to continue to avoid paying their contract and part-time employees equally. The authors argue for the need to limit these exceptions and provide additional protections for contract faculty. Doing so would go a long way to meaningfully improve working conditions for contract faculty.

Now that the legislature is back in session, the coming weeks will be important for keeping these issues in the news and ensuring MPPs understand the struggles faced by Ontario’s contract faculty. For more details on OCUFA’s recommendations for improving Bill 148, click here.