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Fair Employment Week: Helping build solidarity for 15 years

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) led the way in creating Fair Employment Week over 15 years ago. Today we continue to see an explosion of new positions at our universities with varying degrees of job insecurity. Administrations have taken advantage of a longstanding practice of bringing professionals with careers outside the university into the classroom to teach occasional classes. The employment of contract faculty has now become an entrenched strategy, used by university administrators to keep costs down.

Faculty associations are taking up the challenge of fighting for fairness for contract faculty, including wages, job security, and benefits. This year, OCUFA’s Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee is our largest ever and interest in supporting our work continues to grow. Outreach activities during Fair Employment Week took place on a record number of campuses in Ontario and the response for students, staff, and faculty was overwhelmingly positive.

Last winter, contract faculty in universities partnered with contract faculty in colleges for a day of action on Twitter. This year we will once again focus on building solidarity and raising awareness about the need for fairness for contract faculty. In an effort to advance public discussion of precarious work in the academy we are supporting a winter action (stay tuned for details!) to complement our efforts during Fair Employment Week in the fall.

Sign the pledge

More than 550 people have added their names in support of fairness for contract faculty.

If you haven't already, take two minutes and sign the pledge today!

Contract faculty bargaining update

Contract faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University and Algoma University are currently preparing for potential strikes in the new year. From flying pickets to people jumping in their cars and driving in for a day, faculty have always show an amazing amount of support and solidarity during strikes. This support will be key as these groups fight for fairness for contract faculty at the bargaining table.

New research links precarious work with health

A new study from Ryerson University sheds light on the health issues faced by low-income racialized and immigrant women who are a growing percentage of those engaged in precarious employment. Working so hard, still so poor!: A public health crisis in the making? identifies precarious jobs as a major source of the chronic and acute health problems that many of these women are facing as they work to support that families. Released on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the report provides evidence and urgency around the need to update and improve Ontario’s Employment Standards and Labour Relations Acts to improve workplace protections. The complete report can be read here.

Meet Ben Rubin

Contract faculty are engaged and passionate members of the university community. They enjoy the role they play both inside and outside of the classroom. Ben Rubin is an assistant professor in Forest Ecology at the University of Western Ontario, and a member of the OCUFA Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee.

“My proudest teaching moments happen when a student tells me that they have a newfound interest in something they had never thought of, or feared they would not like.

I love my job because I get to work with colleagues and students who are thoughtful, energetic, open-minded, and all around cool people.”

Fight for $15 & Fairness

The Fight for $15 and Fairness continues to grow. Contract faculty advocating for fairness are joined in this broad movement by workers from many sectors, including:

  • health workers focused on ensuring everyone has access to paid sick leave;
  • airport workers fighting against contract flipping and for a $15 minimum wage;
  • migrant workers demanding an end to exclusions and proactive enforcement of labour law; and
  • faith leaders standing up for justice and compassion in their communities.

Building a campaign for decent work that encompasses so many different types of labour reveals the common challenges workers are facing across the province, whether they work at a university, retail shop, or hospital. Together, our common call for job security, access to benefits, fair pay, and decent work is stronger. With the Changing Workplaces Review set to wrap up early next year, now is the time to be making our demands heard.

This holiday season, you can join the movement by taking the Decent Work Sing-Along Challenge!

Order Fairness for Contract Faculty materials

To order Fairness for Contract Faculty materials, including t-shirts, buttons, postcards or banners, please get in touch with Andrea at ACalver@ocufa.on.ca.

If you have a printer capable of two-sided printing and a paper-cutter, you can download a pdf of the postcard and print some yourself.

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