The Ad Hoc Committee on Contract Academic Staff (CAS) was formed this year with the mandate of raising awareness of issues of particular concern to our CAS members, and of providing support to the FA Executive Committee as we seek to engage with the Employer on these issues. Members are Kellie Lockheart, Colm Magner, Keri McCaffery, Martha Mellish, Dale Sorensen, and Margot Rejskind (Chair).
This year the Committee undertook small but essential tasks as it ramped up. The Committee made a recommendation to the FA that it send out occasional reminders to CAS on things of particular interest to them, such as the availability of PDTR funds. It also advocated on behalf of CAS and especially sessional instructors for expanded PDTR and teaching supports in light of COVID; the Chair wrote to the VPAR and the VPAF, highlighting the inequities in teaching supports between T/TT Faculty and CAS, and urging them to raise the amount of PDTR available to sessionals, make it available to all sessionals including those on Step 1, schedule eLearning training sessions at times when most CAS are actually on contract and available to attend them, and other supports. Unfortunately the Employer has not been receptive to these recommendations.
The Committee also reached out to the provincial government in response to comments made in the Legislature by Minister Brad Trivers, that he does consider job precarity to be an issue on PEI. We informed him that precarity is rampant at UPEI, and pointed out some of the many ways in which it has a negative impact on faculty, students, and the broader community. We are still awaiting a response from the PC government; however, Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker has agreed to meet with us to discuss these issues, and we are hopeful that Minister Trivers will do so as well. In the coming months we look forward to providing further suggestions and perspective on CAS issues, as well as provide model language in advance of the next round of bargaining.
by Margot Rejskind (Chair)