Date Approved by LUFA Executive: 13 November, 2020
Contract Lecturer issues – What you need to know
In 2018, researchers from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and CUPE collected data from 78 universities on contract faculty issues and produced a report entitled Contract U : contract faculty at Canadian universities. No Lakehead data appears in the report. The report does give us insight into the Canada-wide picture where in 2016/2017, 53.6% of faculty appointments were contract appointments, as opposed to tenured or tenure-track appointments. At the same time that dependence on post-secondary education of contract faculty is increasing, the precarity, isolation, low pay and sub-standard working conditions experienced by contract faculty threaten the morale, health and future of the educational experience.
Contract faculty at Lakehead play a significant role in teaching but fall under a set of clauses and terminology in the Collective Agreement that has caused confusion. Even getting accurate data from the Administration about the number of Contract Lecturers working at Lakehead is difficult. Contract faculty fall into five categories:
• Contract Lecturer Level 1 (has taught 1 HCE up to 30 HCEs)
• Contract Lecturer Level 2 (has taught 31 – 60 HCEs)
• Contract Lecturer Level 3 (has taught over 60 HCEs)
• Continuing Contract Lecturer (see LOU #6 – also have service responsibilities)
• Continuing Lecturer (Teaching Focused Faculty Position, Category 1) (also have service responsibilities; see LOU #7)
Not all Contract Lecturers are members of LUFA — to be covered by the collective agreement, a Contract Lecturer must teach 2 FCEs per year. The Administration provides LUFA with a list of contract lecturers who are members of LUFA each November. In 2019/20, there were 62 Contract Lecturer members in LUFA. No one in LUFA knows how many Contract Lecturers actually taught that year.
1. Tracking seniority rights and providing that information to those charged with hiring in advance of hiring decisions to ensure that rights of first refusal (Clauses 19.03.02) are respected. The Administration responded that this would represent a burden for them. How many grievances and complaints could be avoided if the Administration took this responsibility seriously?
2. Currently, for Contract Lecturers Levels 1-3, only those teaching 2 FCEs per year are permitted to be members of LUFA. Extending LUFA membership to all contract faculty would simultaneously simplify the record-keeping burden on the Administration and extend the protection of the collective agreement to all faculty.
3. University email services and library services should not be cut off for contract faculty immediately upon the end of their contract. These services should be available during the summer so contract faculty can prepare courses, stay up-to-date in their field, work on research projects if they wish and receive university bulletins and departmental information.
4. Expanding service recognition for Contract Lecturers (just like faculty, staff, housekeeping, security, physical plant) – again the Administration feels that tracking this information is an unnecessary burden. But isn’t that their job? There are Contract Lecturers who have worked at Lakehead for over 30 years – don’t they deserve the same respect and recognition accorded non-academic staff?
5. Conversion of eight long-serving Level 3 Contract Lecturers to continuing contract lecturer status would offer nine month appointments for job security purposes, but not materially change their teaching service to the institution. These 8 members would then not have to apply for each course each term and administrative work at the departmental level would be reduced.
6. Benefit improvements (most particularly for EAP during these stressful times) including the same pension improvements as other faculty and librarians.
Contract Lecturers with job security and supportive working conditions bring vitality and stability to the University community. They strengthen and improve the University and deserve recognition, better treatment, better salaries and access to benefits.