Building alliances with other unions, campus groups and community organizations is essential to a campaign’s success. These organizations can offer resources, engage a wider audience in the campaign and help build campus-wide support for CAS.
A few things to consider when approaching potential coalition partners:
- Connect the campaign to the organization’s principles, objectives and membership.
- See below for tips on how to engage different members of the campus community.
- Provide different ways for organizations to support the campaign. Depending on the resources of the organization, support could include: financial donations, in-kind support such as printing or space, access to their membership listserv or volunteers.
- Know the decision-making structure of the organization. If the organization has to pass a motion at their Board or Council, make it easy by providing a motion template.
- Always end the meeting by asking what the organization’s current priorities and projects. Are there ways you can also support their work and continue to build the partnership?
Engaging Different Members of the Campus Community
Contract Academic Staff
- Provide orientation sessions with materials or a handbook for every CAS when they are hired that summarizes information from the CA or current practice, such as:
- benefits including funds for Scholarly Activity
- any information about job security and the possible transition from temporary to permanent positions (conversion language in the collective agreement)
- the bargaining process including timelines and a flow chart and an invitation to participate in the process
- their rights for Employment Insurance
- Send out regular (e.g. monthly) emails to CAS members that follow the rhythm of the academic year
- Hold social events each academic semester.
- Develop an app or specific place on your association’s web site for information (FAQs etc.) about contract academic staff and a link to the CAUT pro rata model are posted.
- Provide information about the CAUT pro rata model.
- Prepare bargaining surveys that include questions for CAS, and include CAS in focus groups.
Regular Academic Staff (RAS) in your Association
- Prepare information materials (e.g. brochures, FAQs on the academic association website) that help RAS understand the need for the pro-rata model endorsed by CAUT by showing how:
- RAS workload would be more manageable if CAS were compensated and expected to participate in service activities (e.g. curriculum committees).
- CAS are academics and should be compensated for their scholarly activities so that those activities can inform their teaching.
- The number of RAS, CAS and students have changed at your academic association
- Prepare materials for RAS that help them understand the “lived reality” of CAS and how RA can better support them, including:
- Academic unit heads providing support for CAS who are often hired at the last minute, don’t have time to prepare their courses etc.
- Advocating for their CAS colleagues to be recognized as fully qualified academics rather than transient or temporary workers.
- Participating in and volunteering at FEW activities.
- Create slides that all academic staff could display before and after lectures about CAS issues and/or the changing nature of the academic institutions (e.g. uncoupling teaching and research, commercialization, commodification, etc.). Slides could include the:
- percentage of university revenue allocated to CAS
- number of undergraduate courses taught by CAS
- comparison of the CAS stipend to the cost per course to show how little is spent on their instruction in light of student tuition and funding
- job security issues
- Create pamphlets or postcards with the same information described above and post them around campus or distribute them in class.
- Create posters/pamphlets that track how student tuition and funding is spent, such as comparing how much is spent on CAS compared to administration…
- Create a sticker that CAS can attach to everything that they assess that says “this was marked by a CAS who
- Has no job security
- Has to apply for Employment Assistance every summer
- Use phrases that are creative and hard-hitting and accurate that will resonate with students at your institution, such as “I am a CAS who has worked here for 16 years. Too bad I can’t afford to send my children to school here.”
- Hold a contest with prizes that allows students to guess who is a contract academic and who is not.
Alumni and Parents
- Use the same materials described above and focus on the image and reputation of the institution and the obvious inequities of the CAS experience.
- Focus on rising administrative costs and increased numbers of administrators, which diverts much-needed resources from the classrooms.
- Help them understand that most employees at the institution get paid to do their work (i.e. bargaining, grievance etc.) on a full-time basis while the academic association relies on volunteers who are doing teaching, research and service?