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Sessional Instructors Teaching in Winter, Spring or Summer 2020

The Faculty Association has filed two policy grievances related to sessional contracts and the move online during the pandemic. The first one is for Winter Sessional instructors; the second is for Spring/Summer sessional instructors.

The argument is that sessional instructors are given a contract that specifies the workload, establishes a half-course equivalent for that work, and then provides payment for the specific work done. It is a fee-for-service model. If the University changes the amount of work assigned, the workload listed in the contract (i.e. the half-course equivalent [HCE] value) and the compensation must be adjusted accordingly. This is in contrast to regular academic staff who work full time and are governed by the Workload Article in the Collective Agreement.

What is being argued for Winter sessional instructors is that having come to an agreement on what job was to be done, the HCE value of that work, and the corresponding compensation, the Governors unilaterally changed the provisions of that contract by putting the courses on-line in the middle of the term. This added significant work for the sessional instructors that was not considered in the contract or compensation. The sessional instructor may not have accepted the contract if they knew that they would have to completely revamp the course or perhaps they would have not accepted it for the amount of compensation offered. Because this was done unilaterally, we have grieved the Governors for violating their contracts with sessional instructors and have asked for an across-the-board increase in the HCE for those contracts of 25%.

For Spring/Summer sessional instructors, the argument is somewhat different in that the courses hadn’t started at the time we filed the grievance. However, for some of the Spring/Summer sessional instructors, the contracts were already in force – for example, for sessional instructors who have a one-year contract, or where they signed the contract for Spring/Summer before the Provost announced the courses would be on-line. During the discussions of the COVID Memorandum of Agreement, the Association had asked the Administration to allow sessional instructors to reopen their agreements for Spring/Summer. The Administration refused. So, this grievance is again about those sessional members where the Governors have unilaterally changed the nature of the contract without negotiation with the affected member.

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