SPEAKING NOTES FOR U OF G BOG FEB 25TH, 2016 • Good Morning, Janice Folk-Dawson representing CUPE 1334 – Trades, Maintenance and Service workers on campus. • We are 220 skilled workers who ensure our campus is safe, clean and well maintained. • We have a daily impact and contact with 21,000 students, over 3,000 staff (academic and support) and thousands of campus visitors. • CUPE workers are on campus – working 24 hours a day – 7 days a week – 365 days a year. • We know and care for everyone on campus. • We are trusted and relied on by staff, students, their parents and the broader community. • We actively participate on all University convened committees such as Employment Equity, Code of Ethical Purchasing, Central and Local Health & Safety Committees, and Human Rights Advisory. • I am here today to discuss how decisions around budgeting issues has made the critical roles of CUPE 1334 members even more difficult and make recommendations for an alternate approach. • The University of Guelph’s mission statement contemplates how critical the work of my bargaining unit is to the whole student experience. • Clearly there is a direct relationship between being committed to the highest standards of pedagogy, to the education and well-being of the whole person and, providing enough staff that meets the highest standard of a healthy, safe and clean learning living and working environment. • However, our lived experience – as workers who combined have given literally hundreds of years to ensuring Guelph’s environment allows for the education and well-being of the whole person – is quite different than the spirit of this University’s lofty mission statement. • In fact, particularly in recent years, the disregard for our critical role by this University has left us concerned and confused. • Instead of prioritizing increasing the number of custodial staff to meet the increased demands of this university community, the physical resources dept, has proposed eliminating CUPE workers – members of the university community and contracting out to low paid contractors, who don’t have the necessary skill set for this environment or the connection or accountability to our community! • To imagine that the critical roles we perform can be contracted out to the lowest-bidder not only diminishes and devalues us as members of this University community it raises serious questions about Guelph’s commitment to students and the broader community. • This University’s drive to increase low-waged, precarious work in the Guelph community – while also diminishing services to students on campus – is particularly disturbing since the numbers show it is wholly unnecessary. • Our research demonstrates a surplus of 66.6 M for 2015, with $759.4M total revenue and $689.4M in expenses. • This leaves us serious questions about exactly why contracting out is happening – why is the education and well-being of the whole student being sacrificed? Why is this University becoming a proponent of low-waged, precarious work that will negatively impact the broader community? • It seems as though corporatization of our university campus is changing negatively the priorities of our university away from academics and education towards prioritizing a corporate mindset. • Prioritizing the education and research environment is not compatible with reducing the quality of cleanliness on our campus. • Prioritizing the education and research environment is not compatible with cutting Women Studies as this University did. • And prioritizing the education and research environment certainly isn’t about making individual departments to fund their own research. • Our university environment must be maintained at a level of financing – across departments – that maintains a standard across a diversity of programs. • This includes the learning environment. • Our CUPE members work environment is the learning and living environment of our students. • Workers on our campus are a valuable part of the university community and have pride in – and a deep commitment to the work that they do. • So what are we spending our money on? • Over the last decade, the University of Guelph has undergone extensive restructuring and consolidation of administrative functions. We can now boast that we are among the least costly universities in the province in terms of the percentage of institutional expenditures associated with university’s major central administrative operations. • But in 2015, net income was lower than 2014 as expenses increased at rates higher than revenues. • Interestingly the majority of the expenditure increases in 2015 were associated with non-salary operating costs for non-structural expenses such as construction costs, soft-ware and information resources purchases. • Instead of looking at cutting staff unrelated to these increased costs – the university should be looking to the campus community including workers for innovative solutions to the real 2015 cost drivers including: Open source software, Upgrades and maintenance of current buildings instead of building new buildings, Maintaining the campus at a sustainable size, and Providing support for current areas of research. • Instead of cutting, focus on maintaining quality education and collaborate with the academic and support community to do this better. • Again, to be committed to upholding our mission statement as a University and our place in the broader community, we must be critical of rapidly rising income inequality. • Specifically, this body has to examine its own role in actually growing wage inequality on our campus and how that is impacting the broader growing gap between the best off in our society and all the rest of us. • Over the last 13 years we have seen: Associate deans salary increase 65.4% VP salary increased 79.1% Deans salary increased 98.9% since 1996 and The presidents salary increased 160.7% • During the same 13 years CUPE workers salary has increased 33% - taking CPI and inflation into account, in 13 years we gained 7% growth in real income. • And now CUPE members are being told OUR modest wages are the issue? Our jobs are too expensive to keep? Our years of hard work in this community can be replaced by an ever-rotating group of low-waged, precarious contract workers who – all decent people would hope – have the opportunity to leave those bad contract jobs for full time work? • Really? Is that the message Guelph wants to send to the broader community? That senior administration is worth massive wage hikes, while hard working custodians, trades and maintenance workers don’t even merit a decent, secure full time job? • This shift to contracting out our work, in its fundamental form, is about replacing individuals who are a valued part of the university community with cheaper labour. • Research and teaching are the core missions of the university but they depend upon the contributions of hard working support staff. • If Guelph really is a community, all members need to be valued and supported. • Contracting out decent union work divides the community, lowers the standards and shows disrespect for the historical contributions of our workers. • In closing, we restate: Increase staff levels to meet the needs of the community and maintain the principles of our mission statement, Upgrade and maintenance of current buildings instead of building new buildings, Maintain the campus at a sustainable size, and Provide supports for current areas of research. • Thank you for this opportunity to address the committee and we look forward to more opportunities for students and workers to be involved in a democratic, progressive budget process.