The Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa (APTPUO) said Wednesday that a group of between 30 to 40 part-time professors in the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) could be on the picket lines as early as Friday.
The APTPUO is currently in the process of negotiating the first collective agreement with the university for this group of part-time professors but says they’re seeing little improvement in working conditions through bargaining.
Last week on May 17 the APTPUO cautioned a strike could very well be on the horizon after this group of professors said they were 100 per cent in favour in a strike vote.
The APTPUO hoped the strike vote would help turn the tides in their favour, but APTPUO vice-president (internal) Thomas Boogaart said it “did not move the needle substantially” in an email to the Fulcrum on Wednesday.
“The university and the APTPUO are currently still at the bargaining table,” U of O spokesperson Isabelle Mailloux- Pulkinghorn said in an email this afternoon. “The university is confident that an agreement can be reached through this process.”
The last bargaining session will be held Friday, where the APTPUO will “work toward avoiding the strike,” they said in a tweet this afternoon.
While the OLBI employs around 80 part-time professors (along with 20 full-time professors), a group of between 30 to 40 of these part-time professors don’t receive the same pay or benefits as the others, according to part-time professor in the institute whose identity the Fulcrum has agreed to protect due to concerns of disciplinary backlash.
“In terms of money, they get paid about 70 per cent more per hour, which is not a small number,” they said in a phone interview. “We’re teaching the same students, the same class, the same textbook, the same administrative duties, the same marking and they get $76 more an hour … We’re all increasingly aware of the inequality.”
This group also faces job insecurity, the part-time professor said, noting it’s common to lose a contract or get a contract right before a semester begins.
“Either way it’s disruptive because you get something you’re not prepared for or you don’t get something you were expecting,” the professor added.
The OLBI offers courses in English and French as a second language and a second language certification, a master of arts in bilingualism studies, and language support services for U of O professors and staff.