Volume 95, Issue 35
Friday, November 2, 2001
P/Ters want full-time respect
'Many of us have to work other jobs to survive'
By Chris Lackner
Some of Western's faculty believe they're being wronged.
This past week, part-time faculty at universities and colleges across North America have been attempting to raise awareness of what they believe to be exploitative working conditions, through their Fair Employment Week.
"Many of us have to work other jobs in order to survive," said part-time faculty member Sherrie Larkin, who works in Western's anthropology department.
"Universities are in the business of making money," she said. "We are cheap labour."
Contract Academic Staff, a national organization representing the part-timers, claim their members pay nearly $3,000 a year out-of-their pocket for family health care, dental care and life insurance benefits.
Larkin said part-time faculty make close to 25 per cent of full-time professors at Western.
She said part-time professors are required to perform various services at Western, such as research and committee work, but noted they are only paid for their teaching time.
Part-time employees are not paid or credited for their research, even though it goes towards their departmental totals, she added, noting they are often paid on a similar par with teaching assistants.
"We're aware that part-timers have raised issues of concern," said Alex Mercer, director of faculty relations for Western's administration.
Mercer said the concerns of part-time faculty should be brought to the table in January 2002, when the next collective bargaining agreement between Western and its faculty association is set to be negotiated.
"Any issues or concerns would be best brought to the bargaining table that's what it's for," he explained.
Dan Jorgensen, president of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association, said UWOFA is currently involved in discussions with Western's administration over what is required of part-time staff and what compensation they should receive for their extra duties.
"Our position is that [extra duties for part-timers] should not be required, or if they are required, they should be recognized and paid fairly for it," he added.
Jorgenson said it is a concern for both full-time and part-time faculty that the university is increasingly relying on part-time employees. "We'd like to see full-time employees replaced with full-time employees [instead of part-timers]," he said.
Small steps are being made to recognize the contribution and key role part-time faculty play at Western, he explained, noting the recent draft of the university's strategic plan makes reference to the "critically important" role part-time faculty play on Western's campus.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001