New contract marks gains for sessionals
U of S sessional lecturers say they’re pleased with improvements in job classifications, health-care funding and better stability for members, achieved in their new collective agreement with the University.
The one-year agreement was ratified in August by the sessionals, who are members of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) local 3287, and the University’s Board of Governors, before the Aug. 31 expiry of the previous agreement. It is effective from Sept. 1, 2004 to Aug. 31, 2005.
Human Resources Division Advisor Alana Carmichael says an interest-based bargaining approach was again used by the bargaining teams and it was a rare, positive move for a new collective agreement to be reached with a campus union before the expiry of the old agreement.
Carmichael says while the old contract recognized just two levels of sessional lecturers – Level 1 (entry level) and Level 2 (after teaching the equivalent of 10 full classes), the new agreement sets out three: Level 1 (entry level), Level 2 (after teaching the equivalent of five full classes; and Level 3 (after teaching the equivalent of 10 full classes).
The new contract provides a one-per-cent, or $85, pay increase for Level 1 sessionals – the majority of the bargaining unit – to $8,616 per six-credit course taught from the previous $8,531. There is no pay increase for the new Level 2 – staying at the current $8,946 – but the lower threshold of five classes instead of the previous 10 will help some people to advance right away. And the new Level 3 will be paid at a rate $330 above the old Level 2, at the new $9,276 per six-credit course taught.
In the new three-tier system, there will be 282 sessionals in Level 1, 91 in Level 2 and 177 in Level 3.
Carmichael says the agreement also provides for an increase of $200 to each sessional lecturer’s health spending account, to a new annual total of $500.
And the new contract includes agreement-in-principle that HRD and CUPE 3287 agree to develop a new “continuing term sessional” classification, to take effect Sept. 1, 2005.
“This is a major development, and we’re consulting with deans and department heads for their input,” Carmichael says.
CUPE 3287 President Brian Zamulinski agrees the new classification will be an important step, “because it will create more stability for our members”.
He says creation of the new Level 3 classification is another recognition of the long-service and commitment of sessional lecturers to the U of S. And the topping-up of the health fund is a welcome improvement to benefits which he says have traditionally been sparse.
Zamulinski also believes the short, one-year term of this agreement is good for sessionals, because fairly soon “we can make another try at developing some sort of program to transfer sessionals to better positions”.
He says CUPE 3287 has already proposed creation of a fund to help finance opportunities for sessional lecturers within the Faculty Association.
He notes this will require more direct discussion with the Faculty Association before it can move forward, “but it seems there is some interest in something like this.”