WHAT’S UP WITH MCMASTER ENGLISH LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (MELD)? McMaster’s one-year McMaster English Language Development Diploma costs a whopping $28,231.57 to those ESL students who enroll. That’s several times the price of domestic tuition, making MELD one of the most lucrative programs in the university.
Prior to this fall, MELD generated a lot of work for Unit 2 members with up to 90 contracts offered for sessional faculty teachers in that program. Recently MELD restructured, eliminating Unit 2 contract jobs and shrinking the program to just four sessional faculty at a third the normal rate of pay: Each of the four remaining instructor positions is paid only $2518.33 rather than the usual base rate of $7555 for Unit 2 contracts. Many long serving MELD instructors who were CUPE Unit 2 members lost their jobs.
Why restructure and layoff experienced teaching staff amid a pandemic? We’d like to know. McMaster has tried to use MELD as a bargaining chip at the bargaining table, asking the union to dismiss our issues with the changes to MELD. But if you knew the university built this program with the help of a large contingent of sessional faculty, only to lay them off in a pandemic, would you want us to drop this issue so easily?