FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION April 28, 2016
The Lecturers’ Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland Denounces the Provincial Government’s Austerity Budget
ST. JOHN’S, NL – Per course instructors (PCIs), members of the Lecturers’ Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland (LUMUN) who are represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), remain determined in regard to their upcoming contract negotiations even though the provincial government has tabled an austerity budget that negatively impacts the University’s funding. PCIs are hopeful the university will confirm that it prizes high quality teaching and learning, by offering equitable pay to PCIs and by not increasing class sizes, to the detriment of students and instructors alike.
PCIs play an important role, doing a substantial portion of the teaching at Memorial University, yet many instructors do not earn a living wage by teaching at MUN and many draw EI for part of the year. They are frontline workers but they have no health and dental benefits. One LUMUN member even had to crowd source funding for her prosthetics after an illness rendered her unable to teach (As reported on CBC News). Instead of being paid a yearly salary, PCIs are paid per course on four month contracts with no guarantee of continued work. Since they can earn at most $5,350 to teach one course and a maximum of two courses per semester, the most they can earn for the year is $32,100.
Martha Wells, Local President of LUMUN Local 90500, comments on their work situation: “Sessional work is the very definition of precarious work – low-waged and short-term, with no permanence and scant protections. As with precarious work everywhere, precarious academic labour has become more commonplace. This doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. Our struggle is the struggle of underpaid workers everywhere. In the summer months, as we prepare for fall negotiations, we invite you to learn more about our situation by visiting our website and social media platforms.”
LUMUN represents more than 1000 PCIs, and several hundred teach at Memorial during the academic year. Their collective agreement expires on August 31, 2016.
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Sébastien Bezeau, Political Communication Officer, PSAC, (cell) 902.266.8589