Thursday March 5th 2015
To CUPE 3902 and CUPE 3903 members,
I am writing on behalf of Tenured, Tenure-Track, and Teaching Faculty Members at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to let you know we stand in solidarity with your strike. Your fight is not isolated to the struggle of academic staff and faculty at the University of Toronto and York University; it is part of a broader struggle to improve working and learning conditions in our post-secondary institutions.
Approximately 35% of courses at the University of Toronto are taught by sessional faculty. At UOIT, more than 40% of our courses are taught by sessional faculty. We are all part of a broader trend of increased reliance on precarious work in academia.
Universities must begin prioritizing job security for academic workers. No worker should have to struggle to make ends meet semester-to-semester. Sessional faculty struggles are all faculty members’ struggles.
Without support from talented, innovative teaching assistants, we would be much more limited in our ability to do our work. Teaching Assistants are highly educated professionals; most are also graduate students, making this one of the few professions where you must hand back a large portion of your wages to your employer. Skyrocketing tuition fees, as well as inflation, mean concessionary decreases in wages, and so must be fought. As you illustrate, tuition fees are particularly onerous for international students, particularly due to the deregulation of international tuition fees. We commend and fully support you in your struggle against these injustices.
There are many reasons to be concerned about the state of postsecondary education in Ontario. May your efforts at this juncture ensure a better quality of education for the next generation, and foster fairer working conditions for academic staff and faculty.
Cc: CUPE 3902 President, CUPE 3903 President