GUELPH, ON, Oct. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - University workers are bearing the
brunt of continued underfunding of post-secondary education by the Ontario
government, which could lead to strikes at two more universities this month,
according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. It says
that university issues have been largely ignored by Ontario's political
leaders during the election, despite a strike last month by workers at Carlton
Workers at the University of Guelph have overwhelmingly voted in favour
of strike action while strike ballots for Trent University workers are in the
mail, says Fred Hahn, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario, the province's
largest union representing 20,000 university workers. "These and other
university workers will not bear the brunt of successive policies by the
Liberal and Conservative governments that have led to Ontario being ranked
second-last in provincial funding for post-secondary education. Universities
work because our members work."
Hahn says that the Tory government made deep funding cuts to
post-secondary education, cuts which the McGuinty Liberals have failed to
reverse. "The Liberals and Conservatives are two sides of the same coin, he
says. "They have starved universities of funds, leading administrations to
privatize services, contract out work, defer maintenance and short-change
university workers when it comes to wages."
The University of Guelph is trying to force members of CUPE 1334 to
accept claw-backs in their benefits, pensions, sick leave and wages.
Meanwhile, members of CUPE 3908 part-time faculty at Trent University are
rejecting substantially lower wages than those paid to counterparts doing the
same work in the sector.
Hahn says that CUPE Ontario is pushing for a provincial government that
will put people first and work to ensure that universities and other public
services including schools, health care, social services and municipal
services are adequately funded to meet the needs of Ontarians.
For further information:
For further information: Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer,
(416) 540-3979; Janice Folk-Dawson, CUPE Ontario University Workers
Coordinating Committee Chair, (519) 766-8376; Valerie Dugale, CUPE
Communications, (647) 225-3685