UPEI Faculty Association on Legal Strike

Download: PDF

On March 20, in response to the UPEI Board of Governors’ utter failure to address the serious issues that are having an impact on the quality of education
at PEI’s only university, hundreds of UPEI Faculty Association members walked off the job. We initiated this legal strike reluctantly and in the hope that this action would make it clear that our working conditions are students’ learning conditions and business as usual is no longer sustainable.

Not Enough Faculty

Despite increasing enrolments and tuition, and the near-doubling of the size of the University, the number of full-time permanent faculty over the last
decade has remained virtually unchanged. As UPEI has grown and the number of programs increased, the same number of permanent full-time faculty
members have been expected to take on significant additional work. This has led to larger classes, fewer course options, and less time and opportunity for
instructors to support their students’ success.

Instead of working with us to address this issue, the UPEI Board of Governors has insisted that everything is fine, and that UPEI faculty and students are somehow mistaken when they identify this as a significant concern.

Exploiting Contract Academic Staff

In a recent op-ed, UPEI’s VP Academic & Research claimed that 90% of UPEI professors make more than $100,000. This is misleading. In 2021-2022, more than 500 courses at UPEI were taught by sessional instructors, who work on short-term per-course contracts, and are paid considerably less than full-time faculty members doing the same work. Many sessional instructors teach multiple courses per year, with almost 70 people having taught 25 or more courses at UPEI – some as many as 50 to 100 courses. However, the most a sessional instructor teaching a full course-load at UPEI can expect to make is $35,000 a year, with no benefits or job security. This level of exploitation is unacceptable.

Although the Faculty Association has proposed a part-time faculty solution that would establish pay equity for sessional instructors while providing them with much needed supports, the UPEI Board of Governors has refused to even discuss this proposal.

Toxic Workplace

Unfortunately, resources that could have been used to address these issues and more have instead been used by the UPEI Board of Governors to silence victims of harassment with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), pay for investigations into allegations against members of UPEI Senior Administration, and pay for a year’s worth of travel, lodging, and legal expenses for a Halifax lawyer to act as their Chief Negotiator.

At the same time, Islanders are being encouraged to put their faith in a new medical school that will take shape in this problematic environment. If such an
ambitious project is the future of health care on our Island, we cannot ignore the financial mismanagement and workplace toxicity that continue to cast a shadow over our entire institution.

While we remain committed to negotiating a fair and reasonable agreement that meaningfully addresses these significant issues, our prospects remain dim so long as the UPEI Board of Governors refuses to meet with us to negotiate a settlement. The Board claims to care about students and the effect of the strike on their educations, but their actions say otherwise. It’s time for the UPEI Board of Governors to get serious about getting faculty and students back
into the classroom, where they belong.

Together, we can build a better UPEI!

Other news

  • CBC – “Faculty Association says COVID-19 case linked to UPEI not properly communicated”

    CBC – “Faculty Association says COVID-19 case linked to UPEI not properly communicated”

    Case was announced Saturday, link to UPEI only confirmed publicly on Tuesday. CBC News · Posted: Sep 28, 2021 8:27 PM AT | Last Updated: September 28 The UPEI Faculty Association says staff members are concerned about the lack of information from the university about a recent COVID-19 case connected to the school.  Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather…

  • 2023-2024 Awards and Scholarships Committee Report

    The Awards and Scholarships Committee oversees awards and scholarships that are sponsored and co-sponsored by the Faculty Association, as well as the events celebrating FA award recipients. I would be remiss if I did not mention the hard work and efforts of the Chair of this committee from May 2023 – February 2024, Nadja Bressan.…

  • The UPEIFA is inviting applications for the position of Executive Director

    The UPEIFA is inviting applications for the position of Executive Director. Members are invited to share this posting through their networks. Review of applications will commence February 26, and continue until the position is filled. Please contact Simon Lloyd ([email protected] / 902-566-0536) with any questions regarding the search process. Link to Full job posting available here:…

  • UPEIFA is participating in @CAUT_ACPPU’s Parliament Hill Day

    November 23, 2023 UPEIFA is participating in @CAUT_ACPPU’s Parliament Hill Day to advocate for accessible and affordable PSE in Canada, better protections for public PSE institutions and stronger supports for research and science. #CAUTLobby2023 #cdnPSE #canlab UPEIFA President Michael Arfken met with PEI Senator Jane MacAdam, Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, Senator Percy Downe, Senators Brian…