VANCOUVER – CUPE 4627, representing workers at Vancouver Community College (VCC) in downtown Vancouver, are taking on the BC Liberal government.
Premier Christy Clark is putting Vancouver Community College on the chopping block, say leaders of the newly launched Save Our VCC campaign.
The campaign says that VCC has endured devastating cuts over the past two years, resulting in more than 120 layoffs—including 52 in August—and the loss of college programs and services to students. The Save Our VCC campaign was launched to inspire community action to pressure the Clark government to re-invest in the college.
“VCC is Vancouver’s most affordable community college, giving a hand up to thousands who might not otherwise get the education they need,” said CUPE 4627 President Chris Joyce, noting that VCC has a proud history of serving marginalized communities.
“It’s a job-creating machine with 93 per cent of graduates from diploma, certificate, and associate degree programs employed on graduation,” says Joyce. “It just doesn’t make any sense to put it on the chopping block.”
More cuts are expected over the next year, with another cut to VCC’s operating grant from the province, and the loss of dedicated funding for adult upgrading. In addition to layoffs this summer, funding was suspended for campus maintenance and the downtown campus coffee shop was closed.
“It feels like death by a thousand cuts,” said Ghezal Sorkhabi of VCC’s students’ union. “VCC does so much good for so many people; now we all need to speak up and defend it.”
The Save Our VCC community is made up of people and organizations concerned about ongoing cuts, closures and layoffs at VCC, Vancouver’s most affordable college. VCC is one of B.C.’s oldest community colleges, serving a diverse urban community at two campuses in the City’s downtown core.
CUPE 4627 represents more than 600 employees who are education, administrative, library and facility support workers at Vancouver Community College.
Save Our VCC is calling on the government to stop the cuts and make access to affordable community education a priority again. Go to www.SaveOurVCC.ca and take action.