A Message to Unit 3 Members: Supporting a Strike Mandate and Solidarity with OPSEU Members
A Pivotal Day in Ontario Higher Education
This Thursday, members of CUPE 3902’s Unit 3 will vote on a strike mandate. The same day, full-time and contract faculty at Ontario Colleges will complete their vote on a contract offer which could end their five week strike.
This historic confluence of votes in our sector requires a strong showing at our Thursday night mandate meeting. We must show the University of Toronto we are serious about our demands. We did not craft them frivolously, we will not abandon them easily, and we cannot divorce them from the struggle toward fair, equitable, and stable work in the higher education sector.
We support College faculty in voting “No”. Their Employer forced a vote on an offer with significant concessions, which their bargaining team does not endorse.
Their demands are very similar to our own: better working conditions, equitable pay, and job security. They, like us, recognize that delivering excellent education requires continuity for educators. And they, like us, recognize that dependence on part-time and precarious labour is not sustainable. They are taking a stand for the quality of higher education in Ontario. We stand with them.
Over the past two decades, higher education has been transformed as the majority of teaching has shifted onto low-paid contract faculty with few benefits, no job security and no prospects of retiring with dignity. While estimates vary, between 60 and 80 percent of teaching in Ontario’s colleges is done by contract
faculty. The province must commit to longer contracts and to a reasonable path to permanent employment for all contract faculty. Many of us have taught at the same institutions for a decade, reapplying to deliver the same courses every year.
Across Ontario contract faculty are unifying to sending a clear message: we will not work in conditions of permanent precarity . We demand that the excellent teaching and training we provide be recognized and compensated fairly, and we demand the kind of career security upon which we can build decent lives.
Our solidarity with College faculty must be more than rhetorical. Come to tonight’s meeting. Make your voice heard. Make your vote matter. Bring your colleagues. Your presence is crucial. It makes us stronger and will make your work at U of T better.
As contract faculty members continue to strike, the members of CUPE 3902 (who know a little something about striking) will stand with you for as long as it takes.