March 11, 2015
For immediate release
Toronto,ON–The Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance/Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada – Ontario (FCYA/UKPC-ON) stand in solidarity with the teaching assistants, contractual and part-time instructors of University of Toronto (U of T) and York University currently on legal strike. After bargaining for wage increase, job security, and workers’ benefits, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3902 and 3093 have rejected the tentative deals proposed by U of T and York. As progressive Filipino Canadian youth and students, we are enraged with the university administrations’ failure to address the demands and needs of their workers. The decreasing allocation of funds and increasing privatization and commercialization of post-secondary education are clear manifestations of the intensifying and worsening conditions under the neoliberal agenda.
Underpaid,part-time, and casual academic staff teach 60% of the classes in U of T and York. However, only 3.5-8% of the budget is allocated for teaching assistants and contract faculty. In fact, the wage gap between full time faculty and sessional faculty emphasizes the wage inequality. Full time teaching staff can earn around $80,000 to $200,000. On the other hand, seasonal faculties are earning around $15,000 annually, less than the poverty line in Toronto. Wages have not increased since 2008, while contractualization of workers has increasingly become normalized. In contrast, the university administration argues that university funding has increased 86% since 2003. However, Ontario’s post-secondary tuition fees have tripled since 1993 and it remains the highest among Canada’s provinces. Tuition fees are also expected to increase in the future. This blatant commercialization of schools has left students and educators in a state of disarray. More and more youth are dropping out of school as universities become inaccessible as profit is prioritized over quality education. Similarly, job insecurity and wage freezes push workers into the cycle of poverty.
We, the members of FCYA/UKPC with our sister organizations SIKLAB-ON and the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario, stand alongside the teaching assistants, seasonal, and part-time instructors of York University and U of T. We strongly denounce the attacks on education as we continue to strive for full entitlement and participation in the community. We will continue to expose and oppose the privatization and commercialization of education as we advance and uphold our solidarity with the teaching profession and public education as a whole.
Stop the privatization of public education!
Expose and oppose the neoliberal project!
For more information, contact:
Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance/Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada—Ontario (UKPC/FCYA-ON)
Facebook: Ugnayan Ontario