Ryerson’s professors to vote on contract

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By Hamida Ghafour and Tamsin McMahon

A new, four-year contract between the university and the Ryerson Faculty Association is a “step in the right direction,” says RFA president Michael Doucet.

The contract, which the 500 RFA members will either ratify or reject at an April 12 meeting and is retroactive to July, 1998, addresses complaints professors have had for years, said Doucet.

A copy of the contract, obtained by The Eyeopener, outlines that professors’ salaries will go up substantially and teachers’ paid sabbaticals will also improve.

Under the new deal, a full-time professor’s minimum base salary will increase by 41 per cent to $62,000 from $43,947 under the old contract signed in 1994. The comparisons are based on what the former and new contract list as professors’ minimum starting base salaries.

The maximum base salary for a professor will be $100,000, up 19 per cent from $83,646 in the previous contract.

An assistant professor’s minimum base salary will rise by 28 per cent to $42,000 from $32,800. And an associate professor’s minimum base salary will be boosted by 34 per cent to $52,000 from $38,563.

“We had an objective to make [salaries] consistent with other universities,” said Michael Dewson, Ryerson’s v.p. faculty affairs.

The RFA’s contract expired June 30, 1996 The union and school recently have been negotiating a new contract to replace their interim one.

Other highlights of the contract stipulate that as of July, 2000, professors teaching for eight years will receive 80 per cent of their salary if they take a year’s sabbatical, compared with the 60 they received in the previous contract.

After the ratification meeting on April 12, RFA members will have until April 14 to vote on the deal.

“My hung is people are reasonably happy with that they’ve seen,” Doucet said.

But some professors don’t think the contract has gone far enough to protect Ryerson’s newer faculty.

Under a 1991 ruling, faculty hired before 1991 is classified as mode one, and newer professors as mode two. The split has created tensions among professors over teaching hours, pay and bonuses.

“The contract was supposed to protect me,” said mode two sociology professor Mastafa Koc, but “it does not.”

Under the old contract, mode two professors could apply for a classroom assistant if their class had more than 180 students. But general arts professors were allowed assistants if their class had more than 108 students. Koc worries that as enrolment increases, this may change.

Politics professors Mike Burke said the new contract doesn’t go far enough to settle wage inequalities. Burke said salary increases only restores wages to 1980 levels. “We’re moving forward by going back to the past.”

Burke is also concerned the new contract will cause competition between faculty vying for a limited number of merit pay increases. In the contract, $100,000 will be set aside as a bonus for professors who perform “exceptional service.” But more than 500 professors will be competing for as few as 50 bonuses, each worth $1,000.

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