Hands Up for Fair Employment
This week in post-secondary institutions across Canada faculty and staff are highlighting the problems that non-regular faculty face in their demand for fair employment. It is a struggle that every local in our Federation takes on at the bargaining table and throughout the term of their collective agreements: the struggle to achieve fair and secure employment for every member.
The work we are doing to strengthen contract language and ensure that non-regular faculty achieve real fairness in their workplace is undermined by a provincial government that continues to underfund our post-secondary institutions. Since 2001, real per-student operating grants-the largest single investment that the BC government makes in post-secondary education-has dropped by more than eight per cent The steady decline in funding leads to increased pressures on all faculty to do more with less, an outcome that not only frustrates faculty and their work, it also limits access for our students and diminishes the quality of their education.
As discouraging as these funding cuts are to the work we do as educators, the encouraging news is that we are not alone. A strong majority of BC voters believes that the current provincial government is not investing enough in post-secondary education. In a recent poll commissioned by FPSE on post-secondary education issues, over three-quarters of respondents supported greater investment by the provincial government in our public colleges, institutes and universities. That shift in public support is a first and necessary step in rebuilding the capacity of our institutions to both improve access and improve the conditions of our members who ensure that greater access translates to more learning opportunities for every student.
Making those kinds of improvements has to include substantial changes to the employment conditions of our non-regular faculty members. Those members want and deserve fair access to continuing work within their institution. They want and deserve a fairer system of compensation, a system that moves away from the current system of secondary scales. And finally, those members want and deserve access to full benefits and contractual support programs.
This week we are asking all post-secondary educators in BC to show their support for the struggle of non-regular faculty members. You can do that by talking to your faculty association about the challenges that non-regular faculty face, by talking to your colleagues about this issue, but most of all, by joining with us and putting your hands up for fair employment. Together we are stronger. Pass it on.
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.