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Making Waves

Ontario College Faculty Strike


By David McLaren

College faculty went out on strike a week ago. When this airs maybe they’ll be back at work. Then again maybe not. There’ll be lots of pressure on the Wynne Government to legislate them back into their classrooms. In the meantime, Ontario’s colleges are pleading poverty.

The poverty argument is a bit rich when you know that college presidents have been lobbying the government for increases in their pay of up to 50%. But more money in teachers’ pockets is not the sticking point in this strike.

It’s the precarious nature of their work. Currently, about 70% of faculty in community colleges are part time profs.

That means their contracts last only as long as the semester – about 4 months.

It means that, although they are paid for their time in front of a class, they are not paid for the time it takes to prepare their lessons.

It means that they have little or no say over the curriculum of the college in spite of being hired because they are experts in their field.

Their union has proposed a fairer split: 50% full time and 50% part time.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be represented by a part time lawyer, or have my car serviced by a weekend mechanic. If someone knows their stuff well enough to be hired to teach it to our children, then I want them on the job and available to my kids full time.

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