Urban workers need security to thrive

Sometimes I feel pretty lucky about my job. As contract faculty, an average day for me involves talking with university students about politics, power and the future of Canadian democracy. It’s a pretty good gig.

But wow, there are things about life as contract faculty that just aren’t so great. It’s pretty stressful having no job security, especially with two school-aged kids to support. I have to apply for teaching contracts every term and it’s a scramble to find courses. So, I’m teaching at two universities in two different cities. I wish I could spend my time researching and writing, or being available to my students, rather than commuting.

I love my job. But I think we can make it better. Higher education shouldn’t be a dead end. I don’t want to tell my students to avoid academia. I want to #makeworkbetter.

With less and less of us in traditional employee positions, more of us are working on contract to earn a living. Some of us work on contract with big organizations, while others of us are self employed or freelance workers with many jobs and clients. We need to make sure the rules are fair for all workers.

Sometimes companies will force workers to be classified as independent contractors when by all definitions they are employees. This can mean less pay, lack of workplace benefits, no vacation or overtime pay, and being ineligible to access programs like EI.

For those that are self employed and working freelance, there are very few protections and benefits that can be accessed.

This makes work precarious when it doesn’t need to be. Government needs to recognize the changing nature of work and extend protection and benefits to contract workers.

Will you sign?