Today, on our brand new website, I wanted to update on the work we’ve been doing reaching out to our members in CUPE 3911, as well as to briefly outline some of the major challenges we face as a union.
Today, the tough realities associated with a global pandemic have factored heavily into the evolving priorities of our union.
As you may know, in April, we invited all of our members to fill out a survey to inform our bargaining team.
We appreciate the many insights that 135 members provided to us. We are still working on interpreting the data but initial results show wages and job security are the top priorities we have at this time.
We’ve also initiated and arranged one-on-ones with 75 members so far, and we will be working hard to engage each of our 360+ members over the coming weeks and months.
Cutbacks are a serious problem across the entire post-secondary sector
Since spring 2019, when it was elected with a majority government, the United Conservative Party government has passed two budgets.
Both of these budgets are bad news budgets for the postsecondary sector as they include very deep cuts that are expected to extend for years without delay or pause.
The October 2019 budget decreased funding to the sector. And the most recent budget published at the end of February 2020 included a “transformative” 6.3% rollback in funding to postsecondary institutions.
The government has also continued with its plans to dramatically hike tuition fees, cut student aid, move to an outcomes-based “performance indicator” funding model for the sector, and to limit how much Alberta’s post secondary institutions can spend, as per the McKinnon “Blue Ribbon Panel” report.
Coupled with very high year-over-year enrolments coming to AU due to COVID-19 and the wide-spread turn to online learning, staff and students at AU are being placed under very difficult pressures.
We do know right now that these factors all amount to significant headwinds for us as we prepare to enter into negotiations with the employer over our next contract.
So, we need your help.
We are inviting all members to get involved with the union in whatever way makes sense to you.
Please let us know if you’re interested in setting up a call or getting involved yourself in calling around to your co-workers.
This could involve joining our Ad-hoc Membership Outreach Committee to work on setting one-one-ones with your colleagues.
This could include attending our monthly General Membership Meetings (GMM) to get connected with what the union is working on, and to meet other active members in a low-stakes and fun venue (we meet on Zoom, which means you can join from your own living room!).
As well, we are alway in need of content for our newsletter and our new website – so if you have any ideas, please don’t hesitate to be in touch and get involved.
There’s much more work to be done. Of course, none of it could have been done without working together as colleagues to tackle head-on the common challenges we’re facing.
Barret Weber, Chair
Ad-hoc Membership Outreach Committee (AMOC)