This document provides information on the Collective Agreement between Concordia University and the Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association. The 2012-2015 CUPFA Collective Agreement was ratified at the Special General Assembly on November 16, 2014 and is available in English and French.
COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT IN A NUTSHELL
APPLYING FOR COURSES
Course Postings And Application Deadlines
How do I know what courses, sections, positions, will be available next term? When do I apply?
Hard copies of courses will be posted in your Department/Unit. Posting deadlines are as important for your Department as the deadline for you submitting your Application to Teach. Ask your part-time representative where your Department posts available courses for you to teach. Dates for course postings and application deadlines are outlined in Articles 10.08 and 10.10. Make sure you apply by these deadlines.
Semester Course Postings Application deadlines
Spring/ Summer Feb.1 Feb. 15
Fall, Fall/Winter May 1 May 15
Winter Oct. 1 Oct. 15
How do I apply for courses that are posted?
You must completely fill out the Part-time Teaching Application Form better known as “Appendix H”, which may be obtained from your Department or from the Association Offices. There are always some outside the CUPFA offices in the hallway. You can also download a copy from the CUPFA website, www.cupfa.org. Submit your application to the Association and to the Department (both) before the deadline. Keep a copy for your own records.
NOTA BENE: No application form can be sent by electronic means. All Application to Teach Forms (Appendix H) must be in hard copy, (brought in person, mailed or sent internally) and must not miss the deadline!
What do I include with the Application to Teach Form (Appendix H)?
Include an updated CV (update it on an annual basis), list all of the courses you are qualified to teach, and justify your qualifications. As of April, 2017, course outlines cannot be required in a posting, but nonetheless clearly indicate any additional information demonstrating your qualifications to teach a new course for which you are applying or for any course you have not already taught three (3) times. Please be aware that course evaluations may be included as supporting documents in your application package, but only the Chair of a Department where you have previously taught is given your evaluations for that specific Department by default, and they are not automatically available University-wide when applying in other Departments.
Do I apply for all courses that become posted or just the ones I have taught or especially want?
To ensure your best chances of obtaining a course, you should apply for all the courses you are eligible and qualified to teach in any Department. If applying in more than one Department, ONLY one Appendix H Form is used. Ensure you list courses on the same form in the other Departments you are applying for on the Appendix H Form.
Indicate on your Part-time Teaching Application how many courses you would like to teach, those have taught, or are already teaching in the current academic year. Ensure you indicate on the Application Form all Departments you are applying in. Failure to properly fill out the Application to Teach Form will jeopardize chances of getting any courses. Ensure you indicate the course section you are applying for if several sections of the same course are posted. Be precise!
Please note that courses cannot always be assigned by order of your preference because a Department has to fill its needs as well as follow the Collective Agreement’s guidelines concerning seniority. Any course you mention may be assigned to you, so don’t apply for any courses you will not want to teach. To widen your possibilities, it is wisest to apply for any course for which you feel qualified. Please also note that the PT Hiring Committee after a posting period cannot allocate you a course you have not asked for.
Will I get all the courses I applied for?
The number of courses you receive will be based on your university-wide seniority and on course availability. As per Article 9.02 in the Collective Agreement, CREDIT LIMITS BY SENIORITY determines how many courses you are entitled to teach (provided courses are available). If you have 90 or more seniority credits, you are entitled to a maximum of 18 academic credits worth (six courses). Between 24 and 89.99 credits, you are entitled to a maximum of 12 academic credits worth of teaching load (four courses); and if you are a new hire or have fewer than 24 credits of seniority, you are entitled to a maximum of 6 academic credits of course work per year (two courses).
Who decides course allocations?
Your Department’s Part-time Hiring Committee allocates courses, after which the Chair of the Committee, who is also the Department Chair, sends a recommendation to your Dean. It is ultimately the Offices of your Dean who make a final decision and provide you with a teaching contract. All this said, bear in mind that in legal terms, the employer is always “Concordia University”.
What is the Part-time Hiring Committee (PTHC)?
It’s a parity committee usually consisting of 2 Part-time faculty members, 2 Full-time members, and the Chair of the Department. The size of the Department and the number of PT faculty in a Department determines the number on the PTHC. Regardless, it is a parity committee (Article 10). They meet after the application deadline to evaluate, assess, and distribute part-time courses that have been posted. The Part-time Hiring Committee cannot and does not distribute or allocate courses to graduate students, adjuncts, full-time faculty, LTA’s, or visiting scholars. In fact, anyone classified as an graduate student or Adjunct member must not fill out an Application to Teach Form (Appendix H), as it is not valid for them to do so.
How do I know if courses were distributed properly according to the CUPFA Collective Agreement?
Ask your Part-time faculty representative on the Hiring Committee how courses were allocated. Normally there are no problems. All departmental representatives are trained on the Collective Agreement. If you believe the Collective Agreement was not followed, contact the Association’s Vice President Collective Agreement and Grievance.
What do I do if I feel I have not been treated fairly by the Part-time Hiring Committee and not given the courses I should have been?
Not all situations are confrontational especially if the Collective Agreement has been followed. First, call the Part-time hiring rep in your Department and talk it out. If you’re not satisfied, arrange to meet with CUPFA’s Vice President Collective Agreement and Grievance. At least one day a week, a Grievance Clinic takes place for members to drop by and ask questions. We’ll go over the situation with you and if there has been an abrogation of the Agreement, we can file a grievance on your behalf.
If there has been a breach of the Collective Agreement, we won’t know about it unless you tell us. We can’t protect your rights if we do not know that your rights have been ignored.
How will I know why the Part-time Hiring Committee refused to assign me a course?
Ask for a written statement form the Chair/Unit Head as to why you have not been assigned the courses you applied to teach. You are entitled to know why you were not considered for these courses. This written statement will facilitate the preparation of the grievance report should you decide to go to grievance. There are not that many problem areas. Most Departments have learned to follow the terms of the CUPFA Collective Agreement. Should you not get a response in a reasonable amount of time, contact the Association’s Vice President Collective Agreement and Grievance.
Where are the part-time contracts signed?
Part-time contracts are not mailed. You MUST go in person to the offices of your Dean and you MUST sign these contracts there, before the deadlines established in the Agreement. Part-time contracts must be signed before April 16 for Spring/summer courses, before July 15 for Fall and Fall/Winter courses, and before December 15 for Winter courses. If you send the Offices of the Dean and the Association a letter explaining why you cannot sign your contracts on time (eg. a family obligation in China, you have a medical/health reason, a conference in Vancouver, etc.), ensure you provide a specific date by which you will be signing your contracts. Such a letter must be sent to the Dean’s offices and to CUPFA (S-K 310) no later than March 1, July 1, and November 1. In unusual circumstances, you can arrange to have contracts mailed (Read Article 10 in the CUPFA Collective Agreement). Follow the procedures.
It’s rare but courses are sometimes allocated late, especially if new or extra sections of courses are added at the last minute. The Article 10.19 list applies here, as additional courses outside the deadlines are not posted again. In such cases, the deadlines do not apply, but sign as soon as possible.
What happens if I do not sign my contracts on time?
Except for new course allocations or additional sections, if you do not sign your contract by the specified deadlines, you are at the mercy of the elements. The Dean has every right to cancel your contract and the Association cannot help you in this situation.
What happens if our employer does not post courses by the deadlines or if they have not prepared contracts on time?
Contact the Association immediately (email@example.com).
CANCELLING A CLASS
What if an emergency crops up and I have to cancel a class at the last minute?
It can happen! (Preamble Article 14) Email your Department Chair and Department administrator as soon as possible. If there is time to bring in a substitute from a list in the Department, the Collective Agreement allows for substitution, paid at the pro rata hourly rate. It is your Chair who authorizes any substitute lecturer, so don’t hire anyone. You are not an employer. If no replacement can be found, the Department administrator will inform the Information Desk to post the white card on the classroom door informing students that your class is cancelled. For good measure and in addition to first advising your Department, you can email your class to inform students that the class will be cancelled. As mentioned, your Chair needs to (must!) be informed and will want to know the reasons. You can schedule a make-up class at the end of term or fix a time and place with your class. For such a class, don’t forget to ask your Department administrator to book a room with Academic Scheduling.
NOTA BENE: If for medical reasons (eg. illness or an accident) you need to be on leave for a course (or part of your course), make sure you fill out the short-term disability forms from Human Resources. You are entitled to 100% of your salary for the first month, and 85% of your salary for the remaining part of your teaching contract(s). Short-term disability insurance is available to you once you have signed a teaching contract, so please contact Benefits in Human Resources (firstname.lastname@example.org) and download the short-term disability form on the HR website (http://www.concordia.ca/hr/).
Can I cancel a class for religious reasons?
Yes! Certain religious holidays are available as part of the “duty to accommodate” in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Follow the protocol for class cancellations above. Inform your Chair well ahead of time. Arrangements can be made with your Chair for substitution. Other Statutory holidays are indicated in the Labour Code and/or form part of University policies.
Can a course be cancelled after I sign my contract?
See Appendix C in the Collective Agreement. A course can be cancelled by your Dean if enrolments are not sufficient. Problem is a Faculty or a Department’s enrolment criteria are not always consistent. While you are entitled to an indemnity, certain rules apply. If for any reason your course gets cancelled, contact the Association immediately. Other issues involving the cancellation of a course are perplexing: for example, you sign your contract in July to teach a course scheduled for the winter term, then why is it cancelled in August? Good question. Please contact the Association so we can verify the reasons and circumstances.
What about course evaluations?
Course evaluations are feedback tools; they’re the only way we find out what students really think about us, about the course, or about the University. In the past, evaluations made no distinction between course material and lecturer. We currently have a generic evaluation for all part-time faculty members university-wide. Evaluations are formative in nature, and the teaching criteria are clear. Evaluations should give feedback about learning objectives; they shouldn’t really be hiring instruments. Unfortunately, they often are. The current Collective Agreement provides for the following:
(1) they cannot be used without access to the evaluations of everyone else in a Department; the principle of equity applies, that is, using the same criteria for all faculty: if one person’s evaluations are brought into discussion, then all evaluations have to be on the table;
(2) Evaluations can only be used taking into consideration your track record. Everyone can have a difficult year or an unusual class. Normally, the last 5 years of course evaluations for members with 90 credits of seniority and the last 3 years of course evaluations for members with less than 90 credits of seniority are used to determine just how good your courses were.
What do I do if I have been discriminated against for any reason?
If you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against by a colleague or a student, please document any communications. Stay calm and do not be precipitous and fire off an email in anger. Mishaps in communication sometimes happen and you do not want to exacerbate the situation. Contact the Association’s Vice President Grievance and Collective Agreement before flying off the handle. You need to talk things through.
What do I do if I’m not clear about my rights or responsibilities concerning my job?
If you think you are being asked to perform tasks beyond what is reasonable or expected in your job or according to your contract, or you are not sure how far your responsibilities go, if your academic freedom is being compromised, if you are unclear about the ethics involved with research, read Article 4 and Article 9 in the Collective Agreement. As always, the Association is there to take care of your interests. Contact us!
HIRING DO’S AND DON’TS
I was promised a course and/or a new course I could develop. I now seem to be ignored by my Chair. What do I do?
You have asked this question because you did not get anything confirmed in writing. You must get promises in writing at Concordia; otherwise you are out of luck. As well, please take note that a Chair may not have total control of their Department’s budget. Department budgets fall under the discretion of the Dean and more likely the discretion of the Provost. It is all about finances and who gets what and how much. Your Chair or Department may not be at fault. Get “promises” in writing.
How will the Chair know how qualified I am?
For courses you have taught at least three times, your qualifications to continue to teach these courses are self-evident – see Article 10.15 in the Collective Agreement. For new courses, it is important that you establish your qualifications when you submit your Application to Teach Form (Appendix H).
You must update your Professional Dossier located in the Department along with the latest copy of your CV, awards, achievements, and letters from students, your course evaluations, and all other professional recognition you have received.
CTLS has an excellent workshop about Professional Dossiers that you can take to learn more about how to put your best foot forward. Check-out their website for the next workshop they offer on Professional Teaching Dossiers at http://teaching.concordia.ca/.
What do I do if I have a hiring problem in my Department?
First contact your own Part-time faculty representative(s) who sit(s) on the PT Hiring Committee. They are there to defend your rights and the Collective Agreement. If you are not satisfied with an explanation, contact the Association’s Vice President Collective Agreement and Grievance. Keep in mind there are deadlines for filing grievances, so do not delay in contacting CUPFA.
I am at a loss. I believe many in the Department are against me no matter what I do. What do I need to do now?
It doesn’t happen often, and it shouldn’t happen, but it sometimes does. Human beings have their personalities and sometimes they keep Chairs from being fair. As well Chairs and Departmental politics change. New academic priorities are approved, curriculum changes take place, new directions get established with the University’s academic mission, not to mention different priorities established by the Quebec Ministry of Education. All this is to say that no one may actually be “against” you. Are you familiar with any new priorities established in your Department? Your PT representative who sits on Department Council can inform you about your Department’s objectives. Still feel folk are against you?
Document: be accurate with facts, events, and teaching performance. Ensure your seniority credits are accurate. Keep in mind those following and acting on inaccurate information will jeopardize your credibility and chances for a successful resolution. Bring as many documents as you can with you and come to the CUPFA Grievance Clinic. We’ll talk it out and together we’ll decide on a course of action.
Are there any repercussions if I grieve?
Not only are there no repercussions for exercising your right to grieve, but the right to grieve without intimidation is both in the Quebec Labour Code (Article 15 of Code) and, for good measure, in our Collective Agreement (Article 12).
Don’t be afraid to grieve if you feel that you have been prejudiced. A grievance does not have to be confrontational. This is especially the case with those types of grievances that turn on an interpretation of legal arguments. Labour relations are complex and there may have been no ill will.
It is critical to bring issues to CUPFA’s attention for three reasons:
1) The Association needs to ensure that a chronic pattern of such problems is not occurring over and over again. Coming forward will be doing yourself and all members a service;
2) To ensure this does not happen to any other faculty member, the Association works to stop negative labour practices that prejudice its members. Not coming forward sets a precedent, which our employer may use in the future; and
3) Lastly, your grievance will help the Association negotiate clearer Articles, and/or alter the Collective Agreement in the next round of negotiations.
We cannot advance your interests alone. Having said this, grievances do not necessarily mean warfare. Very often, we succeed in negotiating an agreement that satisfies both parties. As well, your grievance with the Association is confidential.
All in all, coming forward empowers all concerned with greater clarity, confidence, and direction. We are thankful to all members who inform the Association about their concerns.
What do I need to file a grievance?
Keep a paper trail. Course postings, course applications, course evaluations, recommendations, course outlines, email correspondence, etc. Documentation greatly improves your chances of winning your grievance. Contact CUPFA’s Vice-President Collective Agreement and Grievance.
What is an overload?
Overloads are rare, applied only when the Article 10.19 list has been exhausted, AND if any other faculty member on the Departmental and then the University-wide Seniority List cannot teach the course(s), or a course suddenly becomes available. You can be placed in 3 credits of overload, that is 3 credits more than what you are entitled to teach, but if you get such an arrangement, you will have to average your course load the following academic year, that is, teach that much less.
Emergency overload situations require a written request by internal mail from the Chair to the Association in advance of the course beginning and written approval by the Association. There is a whole procedure for all overload requests. Courses assigned as an emergency overload do not need to be averaged the following academic year. After all, you are responding to an emergency situation.
Overall, course overloads are a last resort! Taking extra courses can severely limit your next year’s teaching assignments.
When are seniority credits earned and calculated?
Seniority credits only get calculated once a year, in February. All seniority credits earned in that academic year for courses you have already taught, remission work you have done for the Association, or gains resulting from a grievance will be included in your seniority.
How are seniority/remuneration calculated?
Given the diversity of course offerings and their values, it is hours that determine how many seniority credits a course is worth and how much you should get paid. The Collective Agreement [read Article 18 and Article 8] has established proportional value to courses.
Your vigilance is required for anything involving the number of seniority credits, total hours, and remuneration posted or indicated on part-time contracts.
What if seniority value or course credits or salary are incorrect on the contract or on course postings?
Unfortunately, just because hours, credits, remuneration have been posted or indicated on a contract does not mean the amounts are accurate. Normally a 3-credit course is between 23.4 and 39 hours (remunerated at the rates indicated in Article 18). Hours beyond this amount, means you are entitled to extra seniority credits and, in terms of salary, the extra proportional hourly rate.
Before you sign your contract verify. Verify the accuracy of seniority credits and remuneration on your contract and with your paystub. If the seniority credits or salary is inaccurate, send an email immediately to CUPFA and let our Vice President Collective Agreement and Grievance know.
Are there any exceptions to the proportional hourly rates for salary and seniority credits?
A few courses have a “contact hourly rate” that is fixed for courses involving labs or production courses. As well, courses in the ‘performing arts’ (Theatre, Music, Contemporary Dance) have special Appendices and Letters of Agreement involving the value of many of their courses. If you are confused or unsure, please contact the Vice President Collective Agreement and Grievance.
How do I find out my seniority standing and what if it’s wrong?
A copy of the Seniority List may be found on your portal. Once you access “My Portal”, you go to the My Concordia Menu and click Faculty & Staff Services. On the Employee Self Service menu, you will find the link for the CUPFA Seniority List and can access your seniority credits there. As well, your Department administrator can provide you with a copy. Updated hard-copy lists appear and are posted in your Department in February of each year and that is the time to check for errors. To correct an error or verify your work history, contact (send an email do not call) to Suzanne Downs, Offices of the Provost at Suzanne.Downs@concordia.ca and copy the Association: email@example.com. Please note that it is the member’s responsibility to ensure that your classification and seniority are correct.
TRAINING ON THE COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT
Can I attend a training session on the Collective Agreement even if I am not a Department PT representative?
Once a year all part-time faculty representatives on Department Committees must attend a training session on the Collective Agreement.
If you yourself would like to attend a training session you are most welcomed. Let us know. The more you are familiar with the Collective Agreement and your working conditions, the better!