/R E P E A T -- Media Advisory - This Valentine's Day, Students, Staff and Faculty are Loving $15 and Fairness/

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2017 /CNW/ - This Valentine's Day, students, staff and faculty will be joining forces to call on the Ontario government and local campus administrations to show workers some love. The events are part of a provincial outreach blitz taking place on more than 10 post-secondary campuses across Ontario.

"Whether it's students working in low-wage, precarious employment, contract faculty or food services workers standing up for decent wages and working conditions, we all have a stake in changing the laws that protect workers," says Alia Karim, a Fight for $15 and Fairness campaigner at York University. "All workers deserve at least $15 an hour, paid sick days, fair scheduling, respect at work and so much more."

Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Canadian Federation of Students says: "Too many students are forced to work part-time in low wage jobs with few benefits while continuing to study full-time. Wages are simply too low for students to earn enough money to offset rising tuition fees. We need this provincial government to improve wages and working conditions in 2017 – students don't have time to wait until after the next election for decent work and wages."

"We should expect our public institutions to be leaders in providing decent work," says Janice Folk-Dawson, a maintenance worker at the University of Guelph and chairperson of CUPE Ontario's University Workers' Coordinating Committee. "Unfortunately, by contracting out decent, unionized jobs to third party service providers who pay substandard wages, campus administrations are quite consciously creating more precarious employment. Cleaners and food services workers are particularly vulnerable to this kind of cheap labour strategy."

"Some administrations are paying so little to these third party service providers that the contracted companies cannot pay decent wages even if they wanted to," says Mina Rajabi, president of the York University Graduate Students' Association, who has been supporting campus food service workers (members of Unite Here Local 75) who are bargaining with Aramark for decent wages and working conditions. "These food service workers, many of whom are women, workers of colour or newcomers, earn on average less than $12.50 per hour. It's scandalous. And it explains why so many are joining forces to demand the York administration intervene to ensure these workers have decent wages."

Meanwhile, contract faculty continue to face job insecurity, inadequate wages and all too often lack access to benefits. "Working contract to contract, and being paid less than your colleagues for the same work, is inequitable and it can be demoralizing," says Fran Cachon, a contract faculty member at the University of Windsor and chair of OCUFA's (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee. "The working conditions of professors are the learning conditions for students. When we invest in workplace fairness, we invest in high-quality university education."

For more information contact the following:

Queen's University
10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Mackintosh-Corey Hall, 68 University Avenue
For media inquiries, contact Lesley Jamieson, cell: 613-292-6484

Carleton University
10:00 am - 12:00 pm, 1125 Colonel By Drive (2nd floor of the Loeb Building)
For media inquiries, contact Sam Jraiw, cell: 613-700-6987            

Wilfrid Laurier University
10:00 am - 1:00 pm, 75 University Avenue West (concourse)
For media inquiries, contact Kimberly Ellis-Hale, cell: 519-574-0402

Nipissing University
10:00 am - 3:00 pm, 100 College Drive (outside the campus shop)
For media inquiries, contact Sam DeFranco, cell: 647-926-7473

Wilfrid Laurier University

10:00 am - 5:00 pm, RCW Lobby, 73 George Street
For media inquiries, contact Edward Sauve, cell: 519-992-3481

Brock University
10:00 am- 4:00 pm, Mackenzie-Chown A.
For media inquiries, contact Simon Black, cell: 416-894-1662

McMaster University
10:30 am - 4:00 pm, Mills Library Lobby, 1280 Main Street West
For media inquiries, contact Melissa Anne Cameron, cell: 705-716-3376

York University
11:00 am - 1:00 pm, Central Square 
For media inquiries, contact David Bush, cell: 647-571-4172

University of Toronto
11:00 am - 2:00 pm, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, 100 St George Street
For media inquiries, contact Jared Ong, cell: 647-273-5285

Ryerson University
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, Bridge between POD and Library Building
For media inquiries, contact Chrissy Lynn Trudel, 705-988-3180


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