WATERLOO, ON – Sessional instructors at the University of Waterloo are the newest members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), following a decision at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). The decision comes after a vote in December, when an overwhelming majority of instructors voted to join the union, which represents academic workers at most Ontario universities.
“Waterloo is a great, world-class university, but as instructors we’re way behind other universities in this province. It’s time to bring us up to standards for things like employment security, benefits, professional development and basics like appropriate office space and equipment,” said Scott Sorli, one of the sessional instructors involved in the organizing drive.
More than half of instructional positions in Canadian universities are filled by contract instructors. In non-union environments they have little or no job security.
“Without a union, we really had no voice in our workplace. We had no way to influence health and safety standards during the pandemic, almost no training, and no way to safely raise concerns or questions about our workplace. We’re excited that we now have a pathway to fixing all this,” said MK Stinson, a sessional instructor.
The University of Waterloo decision closely follows a vote by clinical nursing instructors at Brock University at the end of November to join CUPE, and international programs teaching staff at the University of Toronto’s New College.
CUPE represents more than 63,000 academic, maintenance, custodian, food service and other workers at Canadian post-secondary institutions and academic staff at 18 Ontario universities.
For more information:
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications