Sessionals ratify new three-year contract
A new emphasis on interest-based bargaining has paid off for the U of S and one of its staff bargaining groups.
The new process helped the University and its approximately 450 sessional lecturers arrive at a three-year collective agreement and both sides say the approach produced good results.
"It served the University well," says U of S Labor Relations Director Joan Llewellyn.
"It served us well, too. We liked it," Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3287 Vice-President Lisa Henderson adds.
She says the interest-based bargaining was more consensual and less adversarial than traditional collective bargaining, and "allowed people to bring forward concerns and talk about them and see if we could find areas of common interest."
Henderson says the July 1, 1999June 30, 2002 agreement, ratified by members Aug. 2, provides for a good salary hike and gives the sessional lecturers something theyve been after for years virtual parity with their counterparts at the University of Regina.
"We were pleased with the amount of raise we got," says Henderson, a sessional in the Dept. of Art and Art History.
The new contract creates two levels of sessional lecturers for pay purposes Level 1 and Level 2, with the latter being sessionals with at least 60 credit units of teaching experience.
The agreement gives a two-per-cent raise for all sessionals on July 1, 1999, July 1, 2000 and July 1, 2001.
In addition, it sets all Level 2 sessionals salaries at three-per-cent above those of Level 1 sessionals.
This brings the total salary for Level 1 sessionals to $7,680 per six-unit course (eight months) as of July 1, 2000. Next July 1 it will go to $7,834.
It brings the total salary for Level 2 sessionals to $7,910 per six-unit course (eight months) as of July 1, 2000. Next July 1 it will go to $8,068.
Sessionals new pay rates will begin on their September paycheques, and their retroactive pay will be included on their November paycheques.
The contract also provides for a major hike to the professional allowances sessionals get, designed to offset some of their costs of teaching. Added to the current $20 allowance per six-unit course will be $40 on July 1, 1999, another $80 July 1, 2000, and another $80 July 1, 2001.
Henderson says this is an important recognition that there are expenses sessionals incur for teaching. She says the new money can go to buy books, other materials, or to attend professional development conferences.
The CUPE vice-president said the trade-off for getting improved allowances was that the previous professional conference fund for sessionals will be discontinued but she said not many staff were able to make use of the fund, and now everyone benefits with a better professional allowance.
The agreement includes refinements to sessionals "right of first refusal" providing access to teaching jobs.
Henderson says the result is that "in some cases it may take a sessional a little more time to qualify for right of first refusal, but the second right of first refusal may now be less difficult to obtain for members."
The new agreement also includes a document entitled "Improving Communications Between Students and Sessional Lecturers", designed to serve as a starting point for discussions between sessionals and department heads aimed at improving sessional-student communication.
The document was developed in response to concerns from some department heads about the availability of sessionals to their students.
The paper suggests use of e-mail, computer access, voice mail, home and office phone numbers, and confidential office space be considered.