On this International Women’s Day, ULFA would like to recognize the considerable work done by the women who work at our University.
As our colleagues at SNAC+ (the Support Network for Academics and Students of Colour + Allies) recently made clear, labour issues are equity issues. Like other forms of labour, academic labour is gendered and racialized. ULFA Members who identify as women, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other racialized Members, continue to earn less than their male colleagues and face a number of additional structural challenges in the workplace. For instance, the ULFA Report on “Workload During Covid-19” Survey showed during the pandemic, ULFA Members who are women took up more direct care work for students as well as unpaid care work in their personal lives.
There are a number of outstanding goals in ULFA’s bargaining mandate that seek to improve such working conditions. For instance, workload issues (for example, service work) are gendered and we are pursuing fair workload language in the Collective Agreement. This would require the Employer to justify their policies around workload and show how these policies are reasonable and equitable in terms of the time available to do that work. We are also seeking better data from the Employer about members and protected grounds. We currently have data about our members in terms of gender, but are missing other important demographic information that would allow for a more intersectional understanding of the structural realities facing our workforce. ULFA is also seeking that the Employer discontinue the process of doubly reducing salary increments of part time members, many of whom are part-time for reasons related to protected grounds.
Recently, ULFA has been successful in securing agreement on a number of equity issues. This includes fighting to be able to conduct pay equity studies with a path towards redress. The Employer has tentatively agreed to this proposal as well as to expand the Joint Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
A summary of our goals throughout the strike has been “Equity, Parity, Respect.” We draw inspiration from the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike whose slogan was “Bread and Roses” to symbolize fair wages and dignified working conditions. ULFA remains committed to fight for these goals in this bargaining round and the work that follows.