KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – 53% of professors teaching at Nova Scotia’s universities are now precariously employed, an increasing trend of which Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA), the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT) and CUPE3912 want to make Nova Scotian’s aware.
“Halifax universities offer some of the lowest pay in Canada,” says DFA president Dr. Julia Wright. “Under the CUPE3912 contract, the pay for a one-term course at Dalhousie is under $6400, including vacation pay. We all know how far that will stretch for rent in Halifax.” Per-course faculty often end up working at multiple universities to earn a living wage.
Dr. Scott Stewart, president of ANSUT, agrees. “Nova Scotia is not alone, but the precarity of this piecemeal erosion of faculty is disturbing. Not only is it unfair to the highly educated teachers who are offered these contracts, it is unfair to students who pay increasingly high tuition. Contract teachers often have little notice to prepare their courses, they have access to fewer resources on campus, and they don’t get paid for “extras” like one-on-one meetings with students, writing reference letters, and provide detailed feedback, and I haven’t even mentioned the lack of support for research opportunities.”
“To recognize Fair Employment Week, an initiative of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the DFA, ANSUT and CUPE3912 are working together on events from October 17-23. We share a commitment to “Make It Fair,” says Wright.
“Our goal is to educate our members about working conditions for part-time instructors across Canada as we prepare for bargaining next year,” says Dr. Karen Harper, president of CUPE3912. “We will learn about the kinds of benefits we should have for our members who teach up to 30 years or more and retire without a pension plan.” Panel discussions will be held on the topics of Research (Oct 17, SMU), Benefits (Oct 18, Dal SUB) and Strike Preparation (Oct 23, Dal SUB). Details on the events can be found at ansut.ca and dfa.ns.ca.