Information on the Main Unit’s Negotiation Topics
Throughout the negotiations, the APTPUO will provide you with information on the different priorities and objectives that we will try to achieve during this bargaining round.
Part-time professors volunteer hundreds of hours each year to provide their students with services and resources that are not recognized in their teaching contract.
These services include:
- to administer deferred exams or assignments;
- to administer student accommodations;
- to write reference letters;
- to supervise theses;
- to mentor teaching assistants;
- to follow up plagiarism cases;
- to participate in various committees;
- to participate in various training courses.
Few students are aware that meeting their professor outside office hours or asking for a letter of recommendation is not a service for which their professor is being paid, but rather a personal gift for the students’ future and well-being.
The university administration is exploiting part-time professors by conveniently giving them new tasks to perform outside their teaching contracts, with little to no compensation. The pandemic has only exacerbated the amount of unpaid work.
The Association is negotiating a collective agreement that will recognize these services so that professors can obtain the compensation they are owed in order to ensure the continuity of these essential services to students.
Let’s show solidarity and demonstrate to the university administration that our working conditions are the learning conditions of our students.
Quality of Education
It is clear that the university administration values profit over quality education. While they claim to provide an outstanding quality education, they fail to deliver on their word by continuously increasing tuition fees and refusing to provide the resources necessary for professors to teach.
Here are some examples of how the university administration has undermined the quality of education:
- Increased student enrolment per class;
- Seminars that were posted with as few as 40 students have grown to nearly 200 students enrolled;
- Courses that were previously listed with 65 students have increased to over 400 students;
- Inadequate and insufficient resources for course delivery;
- Lack of office space to meet with students;
- Too many courses assigned at the last minute hindering professors from preparing a high quality course;
- Compulsory teaching methods without providing appropriate equipment or technological training.
The current teaching conditions are not sufficient to provide the quality of education that the university administration has promised its students. However, tuition fees are constantly on the rise and it is the students who pay the price.
Let’s stand together and show the university administration that our working conditions are the learning conditions of our students.
Part-time professors are hired on a course basis. In other words, they do not know what courses they will teach the following year, or whether they will even get a teaching contract.
This precarity presents many obstacles. For fear of being unemployed, many part-time professors hesitate to make use of their rights provided for in the collective agreement, and accept unpaid overtime work and much more.
Not only that, without job security, it is impossible for a part-time professor to secure a mortgage. And the pressure of rising costs of living and rent in Ottawa is affecting the quality of education.
According to our pre-bargaining survey that was shared with our main unit members, more than half indicated that over 76% of their annual salary was earned from teaching at the University of Ottawa.
A university administration that cares about the quality of education also cares about the working conditions of its employees. On the contrary, ours is seeking more flexibility in the hiring of part-time professors, at the expense of the rights of those who have accumulated seniority.
The APTPUO is currently negotiating a collective agreement that will allow part-time professors to secure full-time positions, retain their seniority, and that permits career planning beyond sessions and contracts.
Pay Equity and Fair Compensation
Inflation is rising at a record rate. However, the university refuses to offer a salary increase sufficient to cope with the current state of the economy.
The APTPUO is negotiating a collective agreement to obtain fair compensation, such as:
- To reach pay equity with our tenured colleagues;
- To eliminate pay differences between our members based on their teaching program;
- To obtain compensation for teaching large classes and for the additional number of students enrolled in the course;
- To have additional compensation for working on holidays and weekends;
- To have reasonable paid sick leave;
- To receive unrestricted tuition fee credits, like other university staff;
- To receive a severance package and salary increase based on experience;
- To have access to parking at a reduced rate;
- To be fully reimbursed for the cost of internet while teaching remotely.
Our working conditions are the learning conditions of our students.
The vast majority of undergraduate courses are taught by part-time professors, which means that over 60% of students learn from these professionals. We are the first point of contact between students and their academic career. Many of them come to us for advice on their study programme and for information on the various services offered by the university.
We play an integral role in university life. Nonetheless, the university administration continues to limit our participation in the collegial governance of the institution.
APTPUO is negotiating a collective agreement to include us in the university community. We are seeking to :
- Confirm our place in the Senate and have at least one seat per faculty for part-time professors;
- Secure seats on the Board of Governors of the University;
- Affirm our place on faculty and department councils;
- Be an integral part of the college process;
- Gain recognition for the contribution of part-time faculty to the academic goals of the University.
One Big Unit
APTPUO is divided into three units:
- The Main Unit with over 2500 members from all faculties of the university;
- The OLBI Unit, which includes some members of the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute;
- The Toronto/Windsor Unit that includes the Faculty of Education professors who teach at the Toronto and Windsor campuses.
The division of our members into three units does not make sense as all our members do the same work for the same employer.
Although this issue seems small, it has a direct impact on the whole community. The management of three collective agreements requires the monopolization of valuable university resources, both human and financial. These resources could easily be used for other priorities of the university community.
During our negotiations, we are proposing to change the scope of the collective agreements to bring all part-time academic staff of the University of Ottawa into a single unit that shares the same reality and work.
In short, one collective agreement for all!
The university administration took advantage of the health crisis to make hasty decisions about course offerings without first discussing them with the real experts in teaching: the professors.
In addition, for several years the Association has had to fight to obtain information concerning the application of the collective agreement, whether it be information concerning the hiring process, the awarding of contracts or accommodation.
The lack of cooperation from the university administration forces the Association to file grievances in order to obtain information through the arbitration process, wasting time and money that should be invested elsewhere for the benefit of the university community.
The APTPUO is currently negotiating a collective agreement that ensures that part-time professors are properly informed of any situation that may affect their working conditions and avoid unnecessary labour disputes.
Thus, we are committed to ensuring that the university administration is transparent and accountable for the application of the collective agreement.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
According to a survey conducted by Statistics Canada in 2019, in general, immigrants are more likely to be employed in a contractual position than the Canadian-born. In postsecondary institutions, according to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Equity Report (2018), racialized faculty members have significantly lower rates of tenured employment than their non-racialized counterparts. This is in fact what we are seeing at the University of Ottawa, where diversity groups are overrepresented in the Association of Part-time Professors.
This reality goes against the university’s efforts to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion on campus.
The Association is negotiating a collective agreement that includes language of equity, diversity and inclusion in all areas of the agreement.