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So obviously we all want to have a sustainable future right? What could possibly be wrong with that! Well, my friends, let me tell you. Bill 124 mandates that no public sector worker, including our loyal sessional faculty here at McMaster University, can negotiate a contract in which their wages can be raised more than 1%. So, your glorious employer is of the opinion that, it is entirely just that we continue to offer 95 senior managers at McMaster University salaries that total more than the entire wage bill for all Unit 2 contract wages combined. That’s OK, folks, because it’s because of their hard work that McMaster posted a $154 million dollar surplus in 2018-2019, and is projecting a $50 million dollar surplus in 2021/22, and 2022/23. Who knows, with the elimination of “class size” in the virtual university, no decrease in tuition fees, and virtually no gain in wages, maybe the surpluses will be even bigger than that!
So Dear Doug, Bill 124: Sustainable for whom? Is it sustainable for your average sessional faculty worker toiling away in precarity, jumping from contract-to-contract, to only receive a 1% increase in wages? McMaster has told our bargaining team that not only will wages be capped at 1%, but the entire value of the contract, including increasing the value of sessional benefits and other job protections, would have to be capped at 1% as well. Now my friends, remember, we’re not really all in it together. And what may seem “sustainable” to you, does not seem very sustainable to me.