Fair Employment Week
Throughout the week of October 22-26, post-secondary educators across Canada will be working to advance the cause of fair employment for non-regular faculty. The events of this week are part of a North American-wide effort by post-secondary educators to ensure that non-regular faculty have the same rights, benefits and protections as regular faculty members have.
On campuses throughout BC, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) is distributing posters to call attention to the problems that non-regular faculty face. The posters pose an obvious question: "What's in a name?" Our message is a straight forward one: the work that non-regular faculty perform is as valuable as any other faculty member and should be afforded the same rights, protections and benefits.
We pose the question because all too often senior administrators try to downplay the problem by using different names and titles to describe non-regular faculty. Whether they are called sessionals, term instructors or contract faculty, these members deserve our support.
Compared to many other jurisdictions in Canada or the United States, post-secondary educators in BC have been able to make considerable gains in the fight to protect non-regular faculty. It's a struggle that stretches back over two decades and has required careful and deliberate action by all our local faculty associations.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s locals worked to include non-regular faculty in all our bargaining units. By the early 1990s, that process of inclusion had led to a full standing committee for non-regular faculty within FPSE. Those organizing efforts eventually led to new language in our 1998 provincial agreement that detailed specific criteria for regularization, criteria that gave us new mechanisms to pressure administrators to allow a member to become regularized.
The contract provisions are important achievements, but we still have more to do. We need to strengthen existing contract language that deals with regularization. Employers are constantly looking for new ways to undermine the effectiveness of those provisions. Moreover, non-regular faculty are under constant pressure from senior administrators who use divide-and-conquer tactics to chip away at our provincial agreement provisions.
Over the next week, we are encouraging members to get involved and get informed. What we have achieved to date is an important base upon which we need to build new protections, benefits and rights for non-regular faculty. Staying informed helps in that effort by ensuring that every faculty member knows their rights. Getting involved in your local means that we are just that much better prepared for the next round of bargaining.
With your help we can achieve our goals and aspirations for all faculty.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.