Media Release: September 28 Contract Faculty Day of Action
MEDIA RELEASE SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
September 28 — Contract Faculty Day of Action at Ontario Colleges
September 28, 2016 is a Day of Action at all Ontario colleges in support of contract faculty. Contract Faculty Forward, a one-year-old grassroots organization dedicated to lobbying for, and improving the work lives of precarious college faculty, is organizing the action.
Contract Faculty Forward is dedicated to improving the working conditions of over 15,000 contract faculty who work in colleges across Ontario. These highly qualified and dedicated professors—variously known as adjunct, contract, part-time, or partial-load faculty—can be described with just one term: precarious workers.
College faculty and union locals across Ontario will be holding various events to show support for their contract faculty colleagues and inform the public about the unequal and precarious work conditions of contract faculty at Ontario colleges.
An estimated 70% of college faculty are contract teachers.
Seventy percent of college teachers have no job security, lower wages, and no benefits. Partial-load faculty, a shrinking minority of contract workers, do have benefits while they are under contract. All contract faculty are paid only for teaching hours, not for preparation, marking, administrative tasks, or communicating with students outside the classroom.
Contract faculty do not receive pay equivalent to their full-time counterparts even though they teach the same courses and have the same qualifications. Equal pay for equal work is an important principle of social justice—but it’s not happening in Ontario college classrooms.
The corporate business model has altered post-secondary education, and college administrators are relying on an ever-growing number of contract faculty used as a “disposable” workforce that can be released at the end of each term, or hired the day before a term starts–or even after classes have begun.
Students and education are negatively impacted because contract faculty are not given the resources (sometimes as basic as access to a desk or computer) or time to meet with students outside the classroom. Contract teachers often work at more than one job to make ends meet. Faculty working conditions do affect student learning conditions
While some teachers only want to teach part-time, and are not seeking more, the majority do want improved job security, or pay and benefits commensurate with their full-time colleagues, or a full-time position.
A March 2015 report entitled The Precarity Penalty by Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research group details the many ways that precarious work can harm individuals, such as financial struggle, delayed spending and life decisions, increased anxiety and depression, lower self-report rates of good physical and mental health, feelings of low self worth, and less societal engagement.
Temporary employment has been around for a long time, but it’s growing across Canada. Whereas before short-term work was seen mostly in the minimum wage retail and service sectors, knowledge sectors including education have seen large increases in contract work. This growing reliance on contract work in the education sector represents a fundamental shift.
Ontario has 24 colleges. In 2015 full-time student enrollment at Ontario colleges hit an all-time high of 237,000 students (Colleges Ontario).
Contact: Darryl Bedford
President, OPSEU Local 110 (Fanshawe College Faculty Union)