Monday, June 15, 2020
Dr. Gervan Fearon, President and Vice-Chancellor
Dear President Fearon,
The BUFA Executive has been approached by Hamnah Shahid on behalf of the “$15 and Fairness” Niagara Chapter and the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity (PACHRED) requesting our support for making Brock University a “$15 and Fairness” campus. As a member of PACHRED and the Employment Equity Advisory subcommittee, the BUFA Equity Officer supports the development of the “$15 and Fairness” report submitted to your office. At this point, the BUFA Executive would like to extend its support, as an organization, to this campaign.
“Strengthening Community” is one of BUFA’s four core principles, and our members’ contributions “make Brock an exciting, vibrant institution of higher learning”. Employment equity and fairness across campus are key components to community building. The world’s current experience with the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the “essential” nature of work in low wage, precarious settings where many such individuals have not had the luxury of sheltering in place. According to recent research reported in The Conversation, “Low-wage essential workers are more likely to face dangerous working conditions and food insecurity than high-wage workers, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic” (Kerrissey and Hammonds).
The PACHRED “$15 and Fairness” report cites persuasive evidence from the Labour Force Survey, estimating “that 53% of Ontario’s post-secondary education workers are precariously employed” and that “these workers include research assistants, teaching assistants, student services workers, plant operations workers, administrative staff, and faculty… noting that women are disproportionately represented among precarious forms of work” (p.1). This survey data makes it clear that a significant number of workers across Brock’s campus find themselves in precarious employment. “$15 and Fairness” represents the kind of community building that can make Brock both exciting and vibrant for all working members of the community.
The BUFA Executive supports the call for Brock University to declare itself a “$15 and Fairness” campus and to commit funding to research and data collection to end discrimination and barriers to employment.
Michelle Webber, Ph.D.
President, Brock University Faculty Association
Professor, Department of Sociology