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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs?

January 15, 2016

I attended today’s update on Fanshawe College’s plans for the former Kingsmill’s building in downtown London.

Fortunately, it appears the facilities group and the architects have listened to our faculty members. For example, there are lots of laptop classrooms for classes of varying sizes and a private office for a Counsellor. (Counsellors are also members of our faculty union.)

There were a number of VIPs and politicians and college officials at the event, some of whom I know fairly well. Some of them spoke about the excitement around the number of students coming downtown, expected to be about 2,000 between the two buildings. Some spoke about the number of “spinoff” jobs that could be created in the downtown core.

Yes, “spinoff” jobs. What you didn’t hear in any of the public announcements was any mention of Fanshawe College itself creating jobs.

The latest Fanshawe College staffing numbers are in and they show that there are now 542 full-time faculty positions. That might sound like a lot but that is roughly the same number as the early 1990’s when the college was about half its current size. It’s taken nearly two decades to reverse the devastating layoffs of 1996-97. It shouldn’t be any surprise then that the numbers show that nearly 61% of Fanshawe’s faculty, 839 people to be exact, are working in temporary positions.

At the CDPA building where the announcement was held, just two net new full-time faculty positions were created. All of the other full-time faculty moved in from other locations. I say that Fanshawe College can do better.

There must be a better solution for London than spending a lot of money, crossing our fingers, and hoping that a few jobs “spinoff”.

Many of our members may be asking: “If the politicians and VIPs aren’t calling on Fanshawe College to create good jobs on its own, then who will?

The answer, my friends, is to be found by looking in the mirror.

It’s up to us as faculty members.

It is primary mission of this faculty union: create good jobs in our community.

Will you join us in that mission?

–Darryl Bedford, President, OPSEU Local 110 (Fanshawe College Faculty Union)