Hello Everyone –

Many of you know that this week is National Adjunct Action Week in the United States, and today is their walkout day. So I’m writing you today with two requests.

First, please take a minute—and it will take only a minute—to sign the solidarity letter on CAUT’s website at http://www.fairemploymentweek.ca/take-action/

Second, please spend a bit of time thinking about how the issues signaled by National Adjunct Action Week affect a large and growing number of us here at OCAD University. One factoid: during last fall’s Fair Employment Week, CAUT created awareness posters for faculty associations to use. But the one that I most liked, which talked about fair wages, was also the one I was most reluctant to use, because it said, in part, that sessionals “typically earn just $4000 to $8000 per course.” But at OCAD, we have people who make less than that. The bottom of OCAD’s sessional scale doesn’t come up to what CAUT imagines is the direst of academic working conditions.

A related point is that sessionals here currently account for about 6.3% of the budget—yet they do about 50% of the teaching.

Similarly, as you know, we had to grieve the Teaching-Intensive Stream, because right out of the gate the Employer has been paying people far below what was agreed to, especially in the faculties of design and art.

By contrast, in the summer of 2013, Helmut Reichenbacher and Carole Beaulieu both received mid-contract “adjustments.” Helmut’s salary went from $135,000 per year to $152,000 per year—a 12% increase; Carole’s salary went from $132,000 to $154,000 per year—a 16% increase. More recently, Stephen Tapp was just hired to run the Imagination Catalyst at a salary of $160,000 per year…for a four-day week.

Most extraordinary of all, however, is the increase that Sara Diamond’s new contract gives her once she’s no longer president: along with giving her an emerita position at $50,000 per year for her first five years post-president, it also bumps up the full professorship that awaits her, from C16 to C22 (at current rates, a difference of $7,831 per year). Add that up, and her first five years post-president go from $118,787 per year to $176,618 per year: a whopping 48%. (I’m sorry to use a cliché like “whopping” but what other word is there?)

And that really is the issue: not just the abominable treatment of the most vulnerable among us—without whom OCAD would close tomorrow—but also the stark contrast between how the administration treats us and how it treats itself. I know these issues are on the minds of many of you already. However, today is an especially good day to ponder what these things say about where education fits in the Employer’s priorities.