In 2002, the contract between Concordia University, in Quebec, Canada, and the Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association (CUPFA) expired. CUPFA represents 1,200 part-time faculty, who teach 40 percent of the courses offered at the University. President Maria Peluso has been quoted as saying that when she began teaching at Concordia nearly 30 years ago, she earned 30 percent of what a full-time faculty member earned. Today, she says, the pay gap between full- and part-time faculty at the institution has grown from 70 percent to 87 percent. That is not a typo. Part-time faculty at Concordia University, if Peluso’s assertion is correct, earn just 13 percent of what the full-time faculty earn.
Here’s what makes me crazy: How in the name of Dan Aykroyd, can the unionized faculty at Concordia see the pay gap increase? In 2002, their contract expired. Five years later, in 2007, the part-timers voted for an unlimited strike mandate by a whopping 97 percent. Five years? Patience is a virtue, yes, but too much patience is a vice, particularly when we are talking about negotiations between part-time faculty locals and university administrators content to see what happens when a contract expires. In this case, the contract is a 101 page behemoth of a document where an entire article (2) is given over the definitions, including “spouse,” “child” or “children.”
I won’t even tell you that there is an “Intellectual Property Clause.” The University may claim ownership of computer software. If the University manages the copyright, the split is 60-40, with the 60 percent going to the faculty member. When a part-time faculty member manages the copyright, the split is 80-20, with the University taking a modest 20 percent cut of the first $100K. After that, we’re back to 60-40.
Would you like to apply for a Limited-Term (a full-time temporary lectureship) opening and get some consideration? If you are a part-time faculty member with 51 credits of seniority, you will be short-listed and interviewed. At six credits per semester, that’s a mere four years of work. The life of the original contract was 1997-2002. In essence, the university gave nothing to part-timers for four years of the five year agreement.
Want to know more about CUPFA? Check out Maria Peluso on YouTube. Want to know more about the negotiations since 2001? Check out Maria Peluso on YouTube here. There’s also an interesting article about the plight of Concordia’s part-timers here.
Join me in taking a moment to send an email to Concordia’s President, Michael Di Grappa, as well as the institution’s Provost, Dr. David Graham urging them both to get to the negotiating table with a viable offer for CUPFA.