The CUPE 3903 Executive Committee stands in solidarity with sessional faculty at McMaster University. Sessional faculty are currently facing a strike or lockout situation due to the intransigence of the University, which is refusing to entertain proposals that would improve the wages and working conditions of these highly precarious workers.
As a result, bargaining has stalled and contract faculty are faced with the real possibility of being locked out or forced into a strike position unless they accept the University’s shameful wage increase of a mere 1%, even as inflation skyrockets past 7%, and no improvements to job security.
Contract instructors teaching students in the faculties of Music, Social Sciences, Humanities, Science, Engineering, and Business play a vital role in providing high-quality, well-supported, and well-rounded education to the university’s students. Yet these same instructors work in jobs that are precarious and underpaid. Many are even forced to reapply for their jobs every four months, even if they’ve worked for McMaster for years.
It’s a situation that affects students as well as workers: students don’t get the education they deserve when there’s high turnover among instructors or when sessional jobs go unfilled because wages and job security are so low.
These are the sort of issues that should be front and centre in contract negotiations. McMaster has historically failed to meaningfully engage on issues of job security, retirement security, training, and fair wages for sessional faculty. Refusing to address these issues now could mean disruption to the academic year later.
A fair deal for sessional faculty is what’s needed. Sessional instructors have our support for a collective agreement that recognizes the needs of both sessional faculty and students.