English Matters

CAUT’s “Fair Employment Week”

“Contract academic staff are under attack,” reads the opening banner to the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ (CAUT) website posting for Fair Employment Week, October 21-25.  ACCUTE agrees.  We are working now on statistics, but some recent postings have indicated that about one-half of the teaching undergraduate students receive is from contract academic staff – that is, people with professional training, research experience, existing research engagements, and a passion for teaching, but who are nevertheless hired on a per-course, limited-term basis, often without benefits, and at a pay-scale that puts them on or below the poverty line in Canada.  The situation, CAUT reports, is getting worse.

CAUT “opposes the increasing casualization of academic work and advocates the equal treatment of all academic staff, regardless of their employment status.”  Under the leadership of our Sessional Caucus Representative Dorothy Hadfield (Waterloo), and in association with our strong Sessional Caucus representatives, ACCUTE, too, seeks a climate change in the management of contract academic staff in Canadian postsecondary institutions.  Most CAS academic staff in English Studies remain represented on Departmental websites as though they were now lacking in field-specialization and current research engagements.  Our caucus members report a lack of access to office space, decision-making… sometimes even Departmental letterhead.

ACCUTE supports CAUT in this important initiative.  Although Fair Employment Week has passed, the struggle continues.  Visit their advocacy website here:





Categories: English Matters

1 reply »

  1. I would like to add that the only ones who can actually make a change in this scenario are tenured faculty and faculty associations. I have worked on all sides of the academic trinity(administration, faculty and union). Administrators feel hogtied by numbers and by deputy ministers, who seem to take perverse pleasure in threatening University administrators with horrible scenarios. In any case, there are a few FAs that have excellent conversion and protection language but many FAs have not taken this crucial step. Further, tenured faculty need to support chairs who demand TT positions and fight back and also put chairs in place who will fight back.

    I also think that major associations need to start linking up with Faculty Associations to ensure their contract members are represented. It’s time to be more political. The survival of the discipline is at stake. How many members are lost to ACCUTE, for example, because many cannot afford the association fees?

    Part of me worries that it might be too late to do anything as we all slide toward looking like professional [business-style] schools rather than a collegium.

    Thanks for this.

    Sara Humphreys
    Trent University
    Long-long time LTA
    Former VP TUFA

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