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Our Winter 2010 Newsletter

posted Feb 27, 2010, 8:26 AM by Bryan Wiebe   [ updated Jan 16, 2011, 9:59 PM ]

STM Faculty Union

February 24, 2010


We hope that your term is progressing well. We wish to take this opportunity to provide you with some reminders and an update of union activities, issues and announcements. We did have a busy fall term, but we did not send out a newsletter as we were constantly anticipating more news to be able to pass on. We are now at a point where we can no longer delay. Our web page:


·      Our Collective Agreement ends on June 30th of this year.  Our Negotiating Committee is Brian Chartier, Chris Foley and Bryan Wiebe. Any suggestions or issues for the new contract are welcome and appreciated.

·      Sessionals interested in applying for seniority should note the following:

Sessional Lecturers shall be responsible for arranging student evaluations for each of the courses they teach while in the probationary period. Failure on the part of the Sessional Lecturer to arrange for adequate student evaluations shall be grounds to withhold seniority. (from Article

·      Sessional Positions for next year will be advertised in June.  In some departments, there may be significant changes in the number of courses available for sessional faculty due to new hirings and changes in the number of course offerings.

We want to emphasize that all members of the Union have the right to consult with the Union about any matter concerning your employment with the college. Please feel free to contact a member of the Executive with any concerns you might have.  The Union respects the confidentiality of our members.



1.      Arbitrations and Judicial Reviews


            [Removed from Web Page]



2.      When are You an Employee? (Part 1)


STM has been moving away from the traditional collegial model towards a regular business model in its relationship with Sessionals. An example is the controversy surrounding office space, including access to libraries and computer accounts. A few years ago the College proposed providing Sessionals with just a locker and a common set of offices, so that a Sessional could work wherever there happened to be an empty space. The Union objected to the impracticality of setting up student appointments: “Go to the fourth floor and knock on all the doors – disturbing everybody – until you find me.” The College also wanted to terminate access to offices, library accounts, computer accounts, etcetera for the summer. After resistance from the Union, they relented on email and library accounts, but not on offices. We were told that the offices could be rented out. Management’s main argument was: In what regular business would someone be given access to company resources while not actually employed by that company? The Union replied that Sessionals sometimes needed to do work for the College outside the actual period of their contract. Management responded by allowing Sessionals to book a room when needed to conduct college business outside the period of their contract.

Sessionals have not been happy with this arrangement.

So much is history. Now that we know the model they are using, we should insist on consistency. Consider the College’s policy on course syllabi. In many cases, preparing syllabi in the couple of days from the beginning of the contract to the first class, when STM (unlike the U. of S.) requires you to submit them to the Dean’s office, is unreasonable. I suspect that most Sessionals are starting with these duties before their contract comes into effect. Consistency means that the College cannot require this. In what regular business could a future employee be required to perform duties prior to the beginning of the contract? Working on the syllabi before the contract begins amounts to unpaid labour! (On the other hand, the CSF, who are under contract well before term begins, may be required to work on syllabi during the summer.) Sessionals should not be chumps. Allowing others to take advantage of you is irresponsible to your family. If they really want the work to be complete by the first class, they should be willing to pay you to start earlier. Perhaps you may need to quit your summer job earlier to fulfill these duties. Why should you be working for free? When educated people allow employers to take advantage of their education without proper remuneration, it diminishes the value of education in the marketplace. It sets a poor example for the students. Why should parents want to send their kids to a college that puts chumps at the front of classes making them role models? If you believe education to be a good thing, you should not allow this to happen. You would do better to turn in your syllabi late.




God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. -- Voltaire, (attributed)

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell