Queen’s Park, March 5, 2018 – NDP Education critic Peggy Sattler said that chronic underfunding of post-secondary education is taking its toll on students, staff and faculty at York University and Carleton University, where strikes began on Monday.
“More than 3,000 York University workers are on the picket line this morning, taking a stand against insecure, unstable academic jobs,” said Sattler. “These workers deliver 60 per cent of the instruction for York University students but their contributions are completely undervalued. They want to get back to the important work they do supporting students. York University students want to be able to learn without having to cross a picket line.”
In question period on Monday, Sattler raised concerns about the underfunding of postsecondary education that has not only led to work stoppage by York University contract faculty, teaching assistants, research assistants, graduate assistants and other part-time workers, but also to job action by 800 administrative, technical and clerical staff at Carleton University.
Sattler called on the Wynne government to address these labour disputes, get all sides back to the bargaining table and fix post-secondary education funding once and for all.
“For almost a decade, Ontario has ranked the lowest of all Canadian provinces in university per-student funding,” said Sattler. “Not only has this downloaded the cost of postsecondary education onto students and their families, creating record levels of student debt, but it has also led to an explosion of contract staff and faculty as a way to reduce payroll costs. Students understand the negative impact this has on the quality of their postsecondary education, which is why the Canadian Federation of Students was at Queen’s Park last week urging an increase to full-time permanent positions and fairness for contract workers.”
“Will the premier use her influence to get the employer back to the bargaining table so that a negotiated settlement can be reached? Will the premier show some leadership, address the underfunding of post-secondary education and reduce precarious work in the university sector?” asked Sattler.