Part-time profs reach a tentative deal with the administration

In the early hours of Monday, Oct. 30, the University of Ottawa and the Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa (APTPUO) reached a tentative deal.

According to Shawn Philip Hunsdale, communications director for the APTPUO, the best gains for the association concern job security and collegial governance. Currently, part-time professors are not permitted to be on the university Senate, but the new agreement allows for the necessary policy changes to allow part-time professors’ representation on the Senate.

“In terms of job security, there has been an easing of the punitive evaluation system,” said Hunsdale.

At the moment, the full time professors’ collective agreement specifically states that students’ evaluations will not result in disciplinary measures by the employer, which is not currently the case for part-time professors.

“We’ve made significant advances on removing the punitive nature of those evaluations,” said Hunsdale. “Right now, part-time professors don’t necessarily have a sense of what courses they will be teaching next semester even if they have been teaching the same ones for 15 years.”

Further gains were made in this tentative agreement in regard to unpaid labour, in areas such as technology training, which part-time professors often have to do on their own time.

The tentative deal also includes an increase in remuneration for part-time professors, which goes above the rate of inflation.

In a written statement released by the university on Oct. 30, Jacques Frémont, president and vice-chancellor of the U of O expressed that “part-time professors play an important role in our academic programs. I am pleased to see that we’ve been able to conclude a fair and reasonable agreement. I would like to thank members of both bargaining committees for their efforts.”

The bargaining committees’ ability to avoid a strike situation has been well received by students overall.

“Although I wouldn’t mind a little extra time to study for my midterms, I’m pretty relieved that we are not on strike,” said Kyle Fletcher, a first-year student in the Faculty of Arts.

“I think just seeing what’s happening with Algonquin (College) right now has made me really glad that we didn’t go on strike,” said Angela White, a second-year student in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies. “I’m happy that I don’t have to worry about an extended semester or loss of any tuition money.”

The university’s Board of Governors and APTPUO members will attempt to ratify the tentative deal on Nov. 24. If the deal is ratified it will be in place until August 2018, at which point a new deal will need to be negotiated.

“I think that with the advances in job security and collegial governance in particular, part-time professors are shedding somewhat of the perception of two different classes of instructors and we’re hoping that further negotiations continue this trend,” said Hunsdale.