Job Stability: It’s an Equity Issue

In this second post in our series about the work of the Job Stability Joint Committee (JSJC), we address why job stability is an equity issue, and the next steps the union is taking to integrate an equity framework into the work of the committee.

What is Job Stability?

Job stability, often called job security, is a major issue in every round of bargaining. This is to be expected, since contract faculty lack stability in a structural way: they face uncertainty and financial insecurity, as access to income and health benefits is never guaranteed. The experiences of the high-seniority member who has taught at York for decades and the low-seniority member struggling to secure their first teaching contracts may appear very different, but they have uncertainty and precarity in common.

The university employs contract faculty to teach around half its courses. Clearly, this precarity is not due to a lack of demand for their labour. The university is built on the exploitation of precariously employed workers – all members of CUPE 3903 know this intimately, and contract faculty who have been at the university for decades most of all. Job stability is about predictability. It’s about paying your bills and taking your kids to the dentist. It’s about rewarding service, and giving people the opportunities to provide that service and grow, rather than treating essential members of the university community as disposable. In sum, job stability is a matter of respect, and it is a matter of equity.

Accordingly, the union members of the JSJC are looking to establish programs that can ensure some predictability and stability, and are also looking at issues of retention and professional development. Members cannot achieve long term equity and stability within Unit 2 unless they have not merely adequate support but also robust opportunity for professional development and mentorship.

While addressing job stability is an equity issue for all Unit 2 members, we must also acknowledge that social location affects job stability. Stay tuned for our next post, where we discuss some of the equity data the union has access to, as well as what is missing.

Don’t Forget: Respond to Job Stability Survey!

If you haven’t filled out the Job Stability Survey yet, it’s not too late! You have until May 15th at midnight to complete it. This survey is one way that you can contribute to the work of the JSJC, as well as a better understanding of the composition and needs of Unit 2. Your answers will help the union gain a fuller picture of what the membership wants and needs. This information will inform the work of the JSJC and also the next round of bargaining, which is just around the corner (starting summer 2023).