I am writing to you about an urgent matter.
As many of you know, Contract Faculty are in negotiations with the University Administration to renew their Collective Agreement that expired on August 31. Negotiations began in the summer, stalled, and then resumed on September 13 but have again stalled. On September 16, WLUFA and the Administration filed jointly for conciliation. As the CF Negotiating Team reported previously (see WLUFA CF Negotiations), negotiations have stalled on issues of fairness and equity. It’s not simply about money. What are they fighting for? You may be surprised to know that they are still having to fight for things that many staff and full-time faculty take for granted, such as paid benefits and compensation that recognizes service and experience.
For example, if they qualify, CF must pay the full cost of health and dental benefits, benefits that are inferior to those of full-time faculty, librarians, and staff. They are fighting to reduce the eligibility criteria to join the benefit plans as well as asking that the University bear at least some of the costs. They are fighting for increased sick leave provisions once their minimal number of allowable sick days are exhausted. They are fighting for better access to the Laurier pension plan.
And despite years of experience and teaching expertise, CF are paid the same amount to teach a course as PhD students with no teaching experience. CF are fighting for fair compensation that not only recognizes their teaching experience at Laurier but also attempts to keep pace with inflation. All of these reasonable demands have been rejected.
Speaking directly to my full-time faculty and librarian colleagues, I urge you to think about your CF colleagues. Think about their dedication to Laurier, to their students, to their profession. They deserve the things they are fighting for. They deserve our respect. They deserve our support. Please stand up for them.
WLUFA will be holding a strike vote on October 4 and 5 where CF can express their support for their Negotiating Team to continue to fight on their behalf during conciliation. The vote is a mechanism for members to send a clear message to the Administration that they support the Negotiating Team’s efforts.
Please acknowledge and connect with your CF colleagues. Ask them what you can do to support them in their fight for improved working conditions.