Day of Action – Contract Faculty
Faculty at Western University and Fanshawe College support contract workers
(London, Ont.)—Unionized faculty at Western University and Fanshawe College are supporting a province-wide Day of Action being held today to call attention to the growing issue of contract academic work in Ontario.
At Western, contract faculty – those who work from contract to contract and are non-tenured, non-probationary university teachers – now teach 56 per cent of undergraduate and graduate level courses. These contract workers have limited academic freedom, and many go from course to course, often scrambling term by term for employment. In 2015 full-time contract instructors at Western represented 17 per cent of all full-time faculty, up from five per cent in 2003. This has serious implications for students and the post-secondary education sector more broadly.
“Many students’ favourite teachers are contract faculty members,” said UWOFA president Kristin Hoffmann. “They deserve better job security and improved wages and benefits.”
At Fanshawe College, a staggering 61 per cent of all faculty are on contracts that typically cover just a single 14-week semester. There were 33 per cent more contract faculty at Fanshawe in 2015, compared to 2006.
“The status quo in the Ontario college system is erosion,” said OPSEU Local 110 president Darryl Bedford. “More and more students are being taught by professors who are poorly paid.”
As part of the day of action, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) released the results of a public opinion poll examining attitudes about precarious work in Ontario’s universities – the first of its kind in the province.
The results include:
• 94 per cent of Ontarians think universities should be model employers and support good jobs in their communities.
• 88 per cent want part-time professors to be converted into full-time positions before more part-time professors are hired.
• 85 per cent want part-time professors to receive fair pay and 84 per cent believe part-time professors should have the same access to benefits as their full-time colleagues.
• 64 per cent of Ontarians want to be taught by, or have their child taught by, a full-time professor with job security and benefits.
• 60 per cent are in favour of more public funding for universities to promote long-term employment relationships with faculty
The unions representing faculty, librarians and archivists at Western and Fanshawe believe all jobs should be good jobs. The rise of contract work is not limited to post-secondary education, but is also a growing issue in the broader economy as well. According to a Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) report, half of the study’s respondents said they have permanent, full-time employment. The report also notes that precarious employment has risen by 50 per cent in the last 20 years. These trends have serious implications for workers’ mental health and wellbeing, as well as regional economic growth.
Contact: Kristin Hoffmann, UWOFA president
519-661-2111 Ext. 86231
Darryl Bedford, OPSEU Local 110 president
OCUFA Contract Faculty Campaign & Pledge:
It’s More Than Poverty – PEPSO report: