Hundreds of faculty at Seneca College may be without work or find their jobs downgraded as of January 2015, as the College proceeds with cuts. The union representing workers at Ontario’s 24 colleges has learned that preference will be given to hiring part-time professors with fewer hours and lower hourly wages for next term.
Part-time faculty do not have office hours, are not paid for student contact time, and often work two or three jobs to make ends meet. These factors make it much harder for them to be available to students outside of class hours.
“It is a mystery to me how turning good jobs into lower-paid part-time jobs is supposed to improve the delivery of quality education,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
A Toronto Star article dated October 22, 2014 has further revealed that there is a concern at the college about a “troubling first-year dropout rate”, explaining that there was “too much work for students”. The college reportedly plans to address this issue by cutting back on class hours.
“It sounds like the real plan is cost cutting. Families make a huge financial investment in a student’s education. And now they will simply get less for their money,” said Thomas.
“Faculty are deeply concerned about the effects of these bad decisions,” said OPSEU Local President at Seneca College, Jonathan Singer. “Many of these faculty have been teaching at the college for years, and they are all experts in their field. If their jobs are downgraded they may be forced to leave and look for work elsewhere. That will be a tremendous loss for the college and for our students.”
The union believes that cuts are planned to start in January 2015. Many faculty have reported to the union that they have already been put on notice. Management has told them that they will not be hired to teach for the January term unless they come back as non-union part-time faculty at a lower pay rate and without benefits.
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