Dear part-time and sessional faculty,
You recently received an email from Humber’s Human Resources informing you of the part-time/sessional faculty organizing vote to be held at:
– North Campus: October 10, D109, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
– Lakeshore Campus: October 11, L Building L3002/3005, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm
– North Campus: October 12, B101, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The email went on to lay out some facts, from Humber’s perspective of what the implications would be of voting for union representation.
I would like to add to those comments.
“No Ability to Opt Out of Union Representation”
This is true and has been the common and legal practice in Canada since 1946. The reason this applies is because everyone in the bargaining unit gets the benefits of what the union has been able to negotiate with management. So, even if you, as a faculty member, do not support the union movement, you will still get the benefits of the improved working conditions negotiated by the union.
For example, as a part-time or sessional faculty you are completely at the mercy of the college in terms of what you get paid, including access to benefits. Partial-load faculty (these faculty teach between 7-12 hours per week) are covered by a collective agreement, negotiated by the union. These faculty are paid a higher hourly rate and receive benefits. You do not.
When I talk to part-time faculty, they tell me that their rate of pay is anywhere from half to two-thirds of what they got paid as partial-load faculty.
Part-time/Sessional faculty have no access to benefits. Partial-load (and full-time) faculty have access to an employer paid benefits plan.
Why the difference? It’s because the partial-load and full-time faculty have a union that has negotiated these working terms for them.
“Union Dues Collected”
Yes, union dues of 1.375% of earnings are collected. But as a partial-load (unionized) faculty you’re earning from one-half more to double your hourly rate (remember that as a non-unionized faculty you make from half to two-thirds what unionized faculty make), this is indeed a small investment to gain this in pay. And you could have access to employer paid benefit plan. In addition, seniority and re-hiring rights would be part of what is negotiated at the table, should there be a positive union vote.
“Ability to Strike”
No one wants a strike. Nevertheless, a strike is a last resort to show management that faculty are serious in their demands. In the 50 years of college existence, there have only been 3 strikes. One of the gains from this was the creation of the Standard Workload Formula that governs the workload of full-time faculty, taking class size, preparation, evaluation and whether or not you have taught the class before into account in determining the faculty’s teaching load. As a non-unionized faculty, you may have experienced much larger class sizes from time to time, yet did not get additional compensation for the additional time you put in. I’ll bet that additional time was much more than 1.375% of what you got paid.
“Negotiation of a New Contract”
Should there be a positive vote to form a faculty union, a new contract will have to be negotiated. The people on the faculty union side would be well versed in the issues and problems non-unionized faculty face and would attempt to address these issues. They would fight on your behalf.
As was stated in management’s email that we, as faculty, respect the right of each of you to make whatever choice you think is best for you. And as management’s email recommended, we have tried to provide you with additional information to help you reach your decision.
Whatever you decide, please make the effort to come out and vote.
Faculty, The Business School
President, Humber Faculty Union (OPSEU Local 562)