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GUELPH, Ont. University workers are bearing the brunt of continued underfunding of post-secondary education by the Ontario government, which could lead to strikes at two more universities this month, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. It says that university issues have been largely ignored by Ontario’s political leaders during the election, despite a strike last month by workers at Carlton University.
Workers at the University of Guelph have overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action while strike ballots for Trent University workers are in the mail, says Fred Hahn, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario, the province’s largest union representing 20,000 university workers. These and other university workers will not bear the brunt of successive policies by the Liberal and Conservative governments that have led to Ontario being ranked second-last in provincial funding for post-secondary education. Universities work because our members work.
Hahn says that the Tory government made deep funding cuts to post-secondary education, cuts which the McGuinty Liberals have failed to reverse. The Liberals and Conservatives are two sides of the same coin, he says. They have starved universities of funds, leading administrations to privatize services, contract out work, defer maintenance and short-change university workers when it comes to wages.
The University of Guelph is trying to force members of CUPE 1334 to accept clawbacks in their benefits, pensions, sick leave and wages. Meanwhile, members of CUPE 3908, part-time faculty at Trent University, are rejecting substantially lower wages than those paid to counterparts doing the same work in the sector.
Hahn says that CUPE Ontario is pushing for a provincial government that will put people first and work to ensure that universities and other public services including schools, health care, social services and municipal services are adequately funded to meet the needs of Ontarians.
For more information, contact:
Fred Hahn CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer 416-540-3979
Janice Folk-Dawson CUPE Ontario University Workers
Coordinating Committee Chair 519-766-8376
Valerie Dugale CUPE Communications 647-225-3685