There are about 1,000 Unit 1 members holding contracts during the year. Approximately half of our membership are graduate students for whom earning income as TAs, Lab Demonstrators, Marker/Graders or Course Coordinators, comprises a component of their funding. The rest are non-student members who work in any of the five occupational designations of our unit.
Part-time instructors are one of the lowest, if not the actually lowest paid in the province*. They are limited in how many courses they can teach and at the mercy of Brock’s lean structural practices that result in fewer jobs being offered. If we compare the six universities, for the same workload, Brock p/t instructors earn $10,000 less than their peers at York.
Hourly rate for TAs, Lab Dems, M/Gs and CCs is $5 below the provincial average.
The employer’s last “offer” on wage increase was
Sept., 2016 0.5%
Jan. 1, 2017 0.25%
Sept. 1, 2017 0.5%
Sept. 1, 2018 0.5%
Stat Holiday Pay included(1)
*We’ve received a message from Algoma University part-time faculty that during negotiations Algoma U management brought up Brock’s part time instructors as the lowest paid in the province. In other words – don’t complain that your pay is shitty, Brock instructors earn even less!
Guaranteed tuition assistance
Graduate student members have no protection against losing income form annual tuition fee increases. As tuition fees rise every year above the inflation rate, their pay does not increase correspondingly. These financial cuts make their studying experience very difficult.
Our bargaining team proposed guaranteed tuition assistance – a financial equivalent of 60 hour appointment (one seminar a term) if there are no jobs for graduate student members, although they applied for them. This would be very helpful for our graduate status members in the spring/summer term when jobs are scarce. The university doesn’t want to discuss this.
While two concessions were taken off the table* the employer is not willing to move on one substantial hit to instructors’ job security. We are fighting against a university proposal to grant PhD students preference for instructor jobs. At a GMM, Unit 1 members passed a motion to hold the employer responsible to both, instructors and PhD students: to keep jobs for instructors and open teaching positions, 0.5 credit course for the duration of PhD student’s program, should the student request it. This could be easily achieved by splitting large courses into sections, creating thus more instructor jobs. Although the employer seemed to entertain this suggestion, they ultimately rejected it.
* In exchange for us dropping a number of our lower priority proposals (ex: Senate representation, time changes to the grievance procedure, personalized mail slots for every member, and others).
We have minimal benefits (only minimal dental coverage) for our members who are not graduate students (about half of our membership). Again, this puts us behind academic workers at other Ontario universities.
The employer also refuses our members Statutory Holidays pay. A basic provision under the Employment Standards Act continues to elude Brock University, declared one of the top employers in Niagara/Hamilton region.