Fair Employment: It’s time for action
We see it on every campus; bright, talented, committed faculty who work from contract to contract with no security of employment, and with it, little or no access to the benefits of regular full-time work. Yet increasingly these contingent faculty have become the operational priority of more and more post-secondary institutions. In many colleges and universities in the United States, for example, well over half of the faculty are either term or sessional.
A recent CBC Radio Sunday Edition documentary on the issue of contingent faculty in Canada highlighted some of the stark realities of those faculty members who often have three to four teaching jobs at different institutions in their community. Many of those interviewed describe the enormous workload involved in holding down multiple teaching jobs. Just as troubling, those interviewed talked about the economic and personal stress of low pay and few if any benefits.
Post-secondary educators across the country are pushing back and speaking out on this important issue. During the week of October 27-31, 2014 our national organization, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), is organizing Fair Employment Week. FPSE has joined that organizing effort to focus on the impact that contingent employment conditions have on our members. We are asking member Locals to join the conversation and speak up about the conditions that sessionals, contract faculty and other non-regular faculty face every day.
Fair employment is something that works for everyone. Certainly contingent faculty are better off when they have access to fair employment. So too are their students who now have access to an instructor who has time and resources to provide the right kind of learning experience for their students. We know fair employment makes sense. We now have to push that much harder to make sure administrators see that fair employment really is a bright idea that needs to be implemented.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.