Join the Fight for Fairness
Today we start another week of activities marking Fair Employment Week, our annual effort to raise awareness of the plight of the precariously-employed workers in academia.
Year after year, we hold days of action, write blog posts and scholarly articles, and do media interviews. Here in BC, we’ve had too many rounds of bargaining where we’ve tabled proposals to improve wages, working conditions, and job security for contract academic staff, only to hit the brick wall of restrictive government and employer mandates each time.
The same funding squeeze responsible for the growing student debt problem is also responsible for the growing disparity between contract academics and their permanent colleagues. Our public institutions are charging students more, but paying instructors less – because our government is ideologically pre-disposed to a user pay system rather than investing in public services.
The truth is, we haven’t made the gains we’ve wanted in bargaining. The truth is, some issues can only be resolved at the ballot box, and not at the bargaining table. The good news is that in a little over six months, we have a chance to elect a new government, one that values public services and the people who provide them. Our ongoing Open the Doors campaign has been shining the light on the post-secondary funding crisis and the need for increased public investment and will continue to do so in the lead-up to the May 9, 2017 election.
While there’s no question that over 15 years of chronic underfunding has contributed to the growing precarity of work in our public institutions, we know that there are other issues that need to be discussed as well. That’s why this year for Fair Employment Week, FPSE is launching a new campaign, “Precarious Profs BC,” to share the stories of our contingent faculty colleagues.
Contract faculty have the same qualifications as regular faculty. Of course, they teach the same courses as regular faculty, but they also do all the same other things that their regular faculty colleagues do. Like regular faculty, contract faculty do the same marking, hold office hours, write reference letters for students, write scholarly papers, publish their works, engage in research in their disciplines, and more. The difference is that although, in practice, employers expect this work of contract faculty, they don’t pay contract faculty to do this work.
Last year, our Fair Employment materials had a theme of “same work, same rights,” and we still believe in that message. This year, we’re taking it further with this new campaign, and we need your help to make it succeed.
Here’s what you can do to show your support and Join the Fight for Fairness:
1. If you’re a sessional or non-regular faculty member, send us your story!
2. Sign our pledge of support for the Fight for Fairness
3. Share your pledge, your stories, and your ideas on social media: #LetsMakeItFair – don’t forget to tag FPSE and CAUT!
4. Share this campaign with your friends and colleagues.
5. Get involved in your faculty association and with the Open the Doors campaign.
I look forward to working with you on the Fight for Fairness! Better can happen here!
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.