WLUFA examines CAS pay

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The Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association’s (WLUFA) latest newsletter, to be released on April 4, discovered in a recent study done by accounting professor William Salatka that contract academic staff (CAS) at Wilfrid Laurier University teach about 45 per cent of the courses but only get paid seven per cent of the university’s total salary costs.

In comparison to Laurier’s total revenue, that is only about three per cent. According to Salatka, from 2010 to 2012 that equals an average of about $8,988 per course. In 2012, however, that figure was at an average of about $9,888 per course.

“Unfortunately, they are not paid very well,” said Salatka, who is also the vice-president of WLUFA. “They comprise a very small part of the compensation and yet they do a lot of work.”

This rhetoric, however, is in part due to the CAS negotiations with the university beginning in the summer since the current contract expires in August. The last time the CAS had a strike was in the spring of 2008.

From these findings, Salatka believes that the CAS should be compensated more to accommodate for their workload.

“I think their compensation should be increased in large part, they make a tremendous contribution to the student experience here at Laurier — student education —and their compensation should reflect that contribution,” he added.

Since the WLUFA newsletter, which is titled the WLUFA  Advocate, was not released publically as of press time, the university noted that they haven’t had enough time to respond to the assertions made by WLUFA.

“We would emphasize that the university believes that CAS members make important contributions to the life of the university and serve our students well. By our analysis, their compensation is competitive with that at other universities for similar positions,” said Kevin Crowley, the director of communications and public affairs at Laurier, who provided a statement to The Cord.

“The university and WLUFA are about to commence bargaining for a new CAS agreement and the strong allegations expressed in the newsletter should be interpreted in that light. The university intends, as always, to negotiate in good faith and to strive to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of students and the university,” his statement continued.

Herbert Pimlott, a communications professor and general member at WLUFA, noted that these findings are also to raise questions about the university administrations intentions in regards to academics.

“Is the administration’s focus really on the academic or educational mission of Laurier? Or is the emphasis elsewhere?” he said. “We have to look at the university’s spending priorities and they clearly do not seem to be their students.”

Pimlott added that the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) placed Laurier in the top six universities who employ the most contract staff. Laurier replaced Queen’s University on a list that includes the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto.

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