The Executive Committee of CUPE 3906, representing 3,000 Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants (in lieu), Sessional Faculty, and Postdoctoral Fellows at McMaster University, stands in full support of striking faculty at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia and Memorial University in Newfoundland. After strikes in the fall by Teaching Assistants at Dalhousie University and here at McMaster, these strikes represent a growing movement of academic workers pushing back against the increasingly corporate, neoliberal governance of our institutions.
We know that the decision to call a strike, especially during a cold Atlantic winter, is not one taken lightly. No one does it out of greed. We do it when we have no other choice. University governance is increasingly being ceded to lawyers and human resources professionals with little to no understanding of how public education and research work, or of the profound importance they have in society.
Precious resources are being diverted away from supporting the workers who make universities function, and being allocated instead to supporting administrative bloat. Not only do the workers suffer, especially in the context of a once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis, but the students suffer as well. This especially true in Atlantic Canada, where the cost of tuition is rising rapidly, and yet workers are being left literally out in the cold.
We also wish to express our solidarity and support for CUPE 4600 Teaching Assistants and Contract Instructors, whose members will being undertaking a strike vote tomorrow, and the Saint Mary’s University Faculty Union, who have set a strike deadline of February 24th. As many of our colleagues at universities across Ontario and the country prepare for their own rounds of bargaining and possible strikes, we hope administrations are taking notice of how serious this situation is. It’s time to restore true collegial governance, return dignity and respect to collective bargaining, and give academic workers the tools we need to do the job that students and our communities deserve, including fair pay and working conditions.
In support of these ongoing struggles, we have authorized a $500 contribution to the strike funds of the Cape Breton University Faculty Association, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association, and the Saint Mary’s University Faculty Union. United, we will win!
The CUPE 3906 Executive Committee