Send Administration the message!
The time for improved job security, enhanced compensation and reasonable benefits is now!
Your attendance at the upcoming bargaining unit meeting is key to a successful round of negotiating.
Brantford: Tuesday, April 5th || 11:00-1:00 || GRH 105
Waterloo: Wednesday, April 6th || 11:00-1:00 || Hawk’s Nest (beside the Turret Nightclub)
Lunch will be served at both meetings.
CAS Negotiations Survey results
By Anne-Marie Allison, Mathematics
With the August 2016 expiration of the Collective Agreement (CA) for Part-time Contract Academic Staff and Part-time Librarians approaching, the CAS Negotiating Team held an online survey to learn what bargaining issues CAS deem most important. (There are no part-time librarians on staff at WLU.)
The survey asked members an open-ended question about their top three priorities related to the CA. Not surprisingly, they listed: (1) job security, (2) compensation and (3) health benefits.
Job security: An overwhelming challenge faced by many contract faculty is not knowing from one semester to the next whether they can count on having a job. Not knowing whether one can secure employment—and thus wages—makes everyday life-planning difficult or impossible. It is a cyclically stressful situation. “I find it incredibly sad how many courses CAS must teach in order to maintain a credible standard of living, and not even know when we will be guaranteed employment should a course disappear,” writes one survey respondent. The uncertainty also affects course planning and other important aspects of connecting with students, such as writing letters of reference, mentoring and support. (See the OCUFA press release in the Advocate, p.2, for more on this issue.)
Compensation: Here’s what CAS members had to say about compensation: “We are woefully underpaid. It is not enough to survive on and be productive as a researcher.” “It is exceedingly discouraging that CAS get paid so much less than their full-time counterparts.” The survey made it clear that CAS want to be paid fairly for the work they do. (See the comparison of salaries of CAS and tenure-track faculty in Kimberly Ellis-Hale’s article in the Advocate, a call for equal pay for equal work.)
Benefits: Contract faculty are the only group on campus that does not have health benefits; even students have access to benefits at WLU. While contract faculty are paid four percent in lieu of benefits, many do not find this situation tenable: “Having no benefits is unacceptable.” “Having full benefits would ensure my loved ones are taken care of, allowing me the freedom to focus on becoming more effective and proficient at teaching.” (See the discussion of benefits for contract faculty in Kimberly Ellis-Hale’s article in the Advocate.)
Subsequent survey questions brought other issues to light—from working conditions to research funding to the need for greater respect from full-time colleagues and the Administration. The Negotiating Team thanks the survey respondents for taking the time to voice their opinions. Your participation was an important step in helping the Team build a platform on which to stand up for and improve the rights and working conditions of contract faculty.