Given her support for the Ontario Craft Distillers on Twitter, WLUFA contacted MPP Catherine Fife regarding our own precariously-employed Contract Faculty. Her office had this to say:
You are correct in identifying that thousands of students in Waterloo’s universities – as well as those across our province – are being taught by professors with no job security, low wages, and little or no benefits. Despite their academic successes and qualifications, many contract faculty members find themselves in precarious employment with no guarantee of a position from one semester to the next.
This is a part of a trend: across public institutions in Ontario, we have seen a trend towards contract, low-wage work, and universities have not been immune. This past spring, MPP Fife worked with members of CUPE to develop the petition […] calling on the government to require that the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (then the ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) end the practice of contracting out front-line jobs, and provide fair, stable hours of work and equitable remuneration. While this petition addresses support and service staff on campuses, its sentiments certainly apply to the precarious employment of contract faculty as well.
As we discussed earlier, Ontarians often hear about how difficult it can be for students to learn while working in precarious jobs – we must also acknowledge how difficult it is for faculty to teach under those same circumstances.
MPP Fife colleague Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West and NDP Advanced Education and Skills Critic, has said in the Ontario Legislature that our province is “seeing a troubling rise in PhDs who are in precarious work, employed as contract faculty in Ontario colleges and universities, who are trying to pay off the huge debts they accumulated while going to school, teaching a course here and a course there with no job security, no benefits and no prospects.”
It’s great to hear this kind of support from one of our MPPs. Thanks!