A Prof from Kingston

In response to my “Open Letter to Students”, another professor provides a different insight; one born of more experience:

I’ve been a full time college professor for twenty-two years and expect to retire in the next two or three years. Going on strike will affect my pension for the rest of my life. I certainly don’t want to strike. Who would? Especially in the dead of winter!

Let me give you some perspective. I went on a sabbatical leave for a year a while ago, during which I was paid 70% of my salary and ALL of my benefits. Fairly typical in the education business. And the college covered my classes during my absence with four part-time teachers. But get this: THE COLLEGE MADE A NET PROFIT ON THAT DEAL!

Yes. That means whatever they paid those part-time teachers totaled less than the 30% of my salary that they weren’t paying me. That should give you some idea of how poorly part-time teachers are paid.

The colleges Collective Agreement says that the system will favor full time positions over part-time and partial load teachers. That’s not what has been going on for nearly two decades. There are more part-time and partial load teachers by far than full time teachers in the college system. Are you getting the picture?

The problem isn’t between the professors and the college system. The problem is that the government of Ontario refuses to pay for quality post-secondary education and the citizens of Ontario remain blissfully ignorant of it. Hence, nothing gets done.

Consider this:
1. Ontario is dead last in all of Canada in per-capita post secondary education spending.
2. Ontario is 40% below NATIONAL AVERAGE in per-capita post secondary education spending.
3. The management side of the bargaining team doesn’t act independent from government but takes their marching orders from them.

So you should be angry that your education is being held hostage. REALLY ANGRY. Just direct it in the right place: at the government of Ontario.

Democracy is messy. Democracy is inconvenient. It requires citizens to act if they want the right things to happen. The only tool professors have at this point (since the management team obviously won’t bargain) is to strike. So the ball is in YOUR court. Make your voice heard. Call or write your MPP. That’s where you can do some good. Demand the kind of education that the rest of Canada has and you deserve. Act.

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