Category: Sessionals

Can You Say “Precariat”?

Full-time teaching for Sessional Lecturers in Education at UBC is 15 credits/term (yes, really), and they make less per credit than anyone else at UBC. If they teach fewer than 7.5 credits in a term, they are still considered less than half-time and do not qualify for most UBC benefits. We need to fix these inequities for our Sessional Lecturer colleagues at UBC, and not just in Education. Most Sessional Lecturers hold PhDs or other terminal degrees and teach a significant number of UBC’s courses; many Sessional Lecturers also do curricular work, service, and research in their disciplines on their own time, unpaid. All Sessional Lecturers deserve to be treated fairly and paid as the highly-qualified professionals they are.

Our Sessional Lecturer Proposals: Job Security/Access to Work

This post focuses on our Sessional Lecturer job security/access to work proposals. Sessional Lecturers without Continuing status have a right of reappointment. But to what, exactly?

Our Sessional Lecturer Proposals: Benefits

This post focuses on the benefits (pension, health benefits, and professional development funds) denied to our colleagues on sessional contracts.

Our Sessional Lecturer Proposals: Salary

This is one of three blog posts focusing on our Sessional Lecturers. The Association has proposals addressing salaries, benefits, and job security/access to work, for our colleagues in the precariat. This post focuses on our Sessional Lecturer salary proposals.

(D)Evolution of the Bargaining Unit

In preparation for bargaining we have tracked the growth and changes in our bargaining unit over the past decade. Knowing who we are and how we’ve changed as a group of faculty, librarians, and program directors helps us determine how the university is evolving (or devolving) and which trends we might need to address. The table tracks the composition of our active membership in 2006, 2012, 2015, and 2017… 

The Pension Issue

Over the past three bargaining rounds we have, through our bargaining blogs, talked frequently about the UBC Faculty Pension issue for Lecturers, Sessionals, and all members working at and beyond age 71. It is sufficiently important to talk about it again.

UBC’s Bizarre Minimum Sessional Salary Scales

UBC does not have a single Sessional salary scale. It has four, and because of that the minimum Sessional salary per section differs greatly among Faculties. This has been a bone of contention between the parties for a very long time, and remains so. The Association has proposed to have a single salary scale which would apply to Sessional Lecturers in all Faculties. The effect of this proposal, if accepted, would be that the minimum salary for a three-credit course section would be the same in every Faculty.

Part-time Sessional Benefit and Pension Issues

This blog pertains to a proposal that the University has made in at least the past three rounds. It concerns Part 4 Article 2.03(f)(ii) which reads: “The following benefits are available to members of the bargaining unit with appointments of at least 1 year and 50% workloads and to Sessional Lecturers with appointments of at least 4 months and 50% workloads.” The problem with this provision is threefold.

Sessionals: Appointments and Salaries

The Association has a number of proposals that relate to Sessionals but many pertain to benefits or workloads, which will be covered in different blogs. In this blog we are focussing on two other issues: right to accrue work and salary.

Our Pension Proposals

Two of our proposals pertain to pensions. First, we propose that the university provide pension plan contribution for all sessional lecturers. Currently the university only pays full compensation (salary plus pension plan contributions) to sessional lecturers with at least 50% workloads. Second, we propose to work out a way for members’ full compensation not to be reduced at age 71, which would happen if the university stopped paying the pension plan contributions at that age.

To understand why we feel so strongly about these proposals it is first necessary to understand how our pension plan works.

Contract Academic Staff

We have two general types of members who teach: those who are tenure stream and those on term contracts of one type or another.  How many of our members are contract faculty? A lot more than many people realize.

Minimum Scales for Sessional Faculty

In 2010, one of our bargaining proposals was for a unified minimum salary scale for all sessionals. We have this as one of our bargaining objectives this year as well. Here is the rationale we provided to the members in 2010:

Minimum Scales for Sessional Faculty

One of the basic ways to prevent teaching-intensive positions from becoming a ghetto for the academics who uphold UBC’s teaching mission is to guarantee respectable minimum salaries.

Bargaining Goals for Sessional Faculty

The FA has three big goals in our Proposal 6: to tidy up the very messy systems for counting and paying sessional faculty for their work; to create more job-security for our most vulnerable colleagues; and to create a real career-path with promotions and reviews for our dedicated full-time sessional faculty.