Fair Employment Week Ideas

Things to keep in mind when choosing what to do on your campus:

  • What is your broader goal for the Make it Fair campaign? What FEW activities will help you achieve this goal?
  • Who do you want to target with your action? Are you trying to pressure decision-makers on your campus? Is your target inactive members of your association who you hope will become more involved? Or members of the campus community who don’t know about the working conditions of CAS? What actions or events will effectively reach that target?
  • What are your association’s current strengths? Do you have a strong social media following? Active volunteers to staff a table or event? A well-timed membership meeting or newsletter?
  • What past actions or events had high turnouts or levels of engagement? What was it about this activity that made your members want to engage?

To help you get started, here is a list of event ideas, both online and in-person,you could do for Fair Employment Week. Click on the action idea to check out some tips to help you organize.

Digital Actions:

  • TweetChat: A live event that takes place on Twitter, moderated and focused around a general topic.

In-person Events:

  • Information Table: Set up a table in a high-traffic area of campus to hand out materials and engage the campus community on the issue.
  • Op-ed in campus or local paper written by a CAS
  • Media stunt: Organize a creative action to garner media attention and raise awareness about the issues.
  • Class presentations: Follow the example of the Faculty Association of St. Thomas University and create a PowerPoint slideshow with information about contract academic staff for members to present to students and answer questions.
  • Trivia night at the campus pub: Host a trivia night where members of the campus community can prove their knowledge about the post-secondary education system in general and on the issues facing CAS.

More Tips:

Twitter Day of Action

  • Compile and share the Twitter handles for the university or college president and Board of Governors in order to target key decision-makers.
  • Establish a hashtag to track and hopefully trend your action and remember to include #Makeitfair
  • Draft template tweets and share with supporters via email and social media.
  • Retweet and share supporters’ posts.

TweetChat Tips

  • Ensure that there is a moderator, guest or host available to engage in and direct the conversation.
  • Put out questions to the community to be answered and/or have guest speakers take questions or share stories. Example: 'Q1: How has working on contract impacted you in your own life? #FEW2017'
  • Promote, promote, promote. Use the association’s social media accounts, newsletter and website, as well as your own social media networks, to let members know when and how to participate in the TweetChat.
  • After the TweetChat, take the time to summarize the discussion and include the summary, with embedded tweets, in your association’s next newsletter or on the website.
  • Remember that the hashtag doesn’t fade away at the end of the TweetChat. Use the hashtag to provide campaign updates or a relevant article or blog post. If the update is relevant to specific participants, consider tagging them to continue building those relationships.
  • If someone was particularly active, consider following up with them to ask if they would like to be more involved in the campaign.
  • Remember to use the hashtag #Makeitfair.

Information Table

  • Don’t expect people to stop on their own. Always stand in front of the table and try to engage people as they walk by.
    • Instead of simply saying “Hi,” try to draw people to the table by asking a question, such as, “Did you know that a contract instructor only earns X per course?” (CAUT can help you find out average payment per course at your institution).
    • Have informational material ready to hand people who are too busy to stop.
  • Include ways for supporters to participate in the campaign at the table:
      • Collect petition or pledge signatures.
      • Use CAUT's pledge or develop your own petition with campus-specific demands.
      • Provide whiteboards for members and supporters to share their experience as a CAS or why they support fair working conditions for CAS. Take a picture of them holding their sign and share it on social media.
      • Paint “I support contract academic staff because…” on a white sheet and provide markers for people to write their answers. Hang the sheet near the President’s office or in a high-traffic area of campus.
  • Make your table more eye-catching:
    • Print a large scale version of the semester schedule and bold classes taught by contract staff.
    • Follow the example of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association and screen a movie next to the table.
  • Remember to stock the table with materials people can take with them, including buttons, posters and informational flyers.

Contract Academic Staff Research Forum

  • Invite the university or college president to hear CAS present on the courses they teach, their areas of research and the service contributions they make to the institution.
  • Solicit testimonials from Faculty Deans and department directors valuing CAS.
  • Remember to set up an informational table at the entrance that includes ways for attendees to engage in the campaign.
  • Circulate a sign-up sheet so you are able to send attendees updates about the campaign and upcoming events.  
  • Free food can go a long way to increase attendance.
  • Reach out to other campus unions and groups to co-sponsor the event.

Celebration of Contract Academic Staff

  • Distribute awards for 10, 15 or 20 years of service.
  • If the event is in the evening, provide childminding services.
  • Create party favours for CAS, including a thank you card from the association for the work that CAS do.

Special edition of the Association’s newsletter

  • Follow the example of the University of Calgary Faculty Association and put a creative spin on the issues. Along with the newsletter, send departments and campus groups:
    • Abox of individually-wrapped lifesavers, highlighting how CAS are "University Savers" and crucial to the University. Put a sticker on each lifesaver that provides a statistic or comment about contract academic staff.
    • Pencils with the slogan, “Don’t Write Off our Sessionals” to ask the campus community to not ignore the working conditions of CAS.
    • Chocolate coins in “treasure chests” emblazoned with facts about CAS and the slogan, “Treasure our Sessionals: They Keep us Afloat.”

Media stunt

  • The media stunt should be creative, but not too complicated to explain. Make sure that the media is able to pull out concise and simple messaging.
  • Remember to let the media know the stunt is happening. Send out a media advisory in the morning through Canada Newswire or to a media list of local reporters.
  • Example of a media stunt:
    • The University of Winnipeg Faculty Association photographed a "cram in" where CAS and others who have been on contract at some point in their careers, were squeezed into a small contract faculty office to underscore the woefully inadequate office space typically provided to contract academics.

Trivia night at the campus pub

  • Get fun prizes to incentivize participation. Attach a campaign material to the prizes.
  • Make the game more engaging by having some questions that include sound or video clips, pictures and word puzzles.
  • Collect the contact information of attendees as they enter to keep them updated on the campaign.