Latest Statement from the Acadia Students’ Union


(NEW) All-Student Email – “Collective Bargaining – An Update from the ASU”

Posted on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Good Afternoon Acadia Students,

We understand this is a sensitive time for students. As students ourselves, we are feeling similar stresses. We are committed to keeping you updated and will be sending out information all week about how collective bargaining is progressing. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns to gracehamilton-burge@acadiau.ca

Update on collective bargaining: 

Most recent information:

  • Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) and the Board of Governors met Thursday, Nov. 16th
  • No movement occurred from either side during this conciliation session

What we know:

  • AUFA still has a strike deadline of Monday, Nov. 27th
  • There is currently no scheduled conciliation meeting

Frequently asked questions:

What is the likelihood of a strike? 

Speculation at anytime during negotiations is very challenging and rarely accurate. AUFA has set a strike deadline for Nov. 27th and there is currently no meeting scheduled between now and that time. We will encourage both parties to find time for another conciliation meeting.

Has there ever been a labour disruption at Acadia?

Yes, there has been two strikes in Acadia’s history.

The first strike occurred on February 24th 2004 and lasted approximately 18 days to March 12th. Major issues during the 2004 AUFA strike were wages, job security, fairness and equity in managerial practices, the integration of part-timers and faculty retention and recruitment. It is important to note that students at Acadia in 2004 did not lose any credits.

The second strike occurred on October 15th 2007 and lasted approximately 22 days to November 5th 2007. A Provincial mediator was appointed on November 1st and helped facilitate an agreement. The University gave returning students a $275 tuition credit for the winter semester. Again, no credits were lost.

What is going to happen to exams if there is a strike?

Ultimately, the academics of the University are left up to the discretion of Acadia Senate. If there is a strike that goes into the exam period there are few options. Firstly, exam period could be shortened to accommodate any lost time. Secondly, exams could be administered in different ways such as by proctor somewhere else, take home or more weight could be put on different parts of the semester. This would be worked out with Senate and each individual class. There is an option that exams could be moved into January. If this was to occur, and there were to be students disadvantaged Acadia would work with them to the best of their ability to ensure they can still pursue their plans for January, such as graduation, exchange programs or masters programs. If in the event of a strike or lockout, we assure you we will be advocating for the best interest of students’ education before, during and after. We will work to give you adequate preparation time in order to help to prepare you on what to do and expect, as well as supporting students through any means possible.

I plan to graduate in December? Will this affect me?

If classes were to be suspended due to a strike or lockout, it is terribly uncommon for that to result in the cancelation of a semester. In 2004 and 2007, Acadia’s only labour disruptions, lasted 18 days and 22 days respectively. Neither of those labour disruptions resulted in the cancelation of an entire semester and students were able to graduate on time. In the Nova Scotia context, there is no record of students at a post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia losing a semester or more as the result of strike or lockout. The University would work with each student to ensure that the best possible situation would occur.

I have my flights booked home, what do I do?

At this time we do not advise changing any plans. If we were to strike we would keep you updated and let you know as soon as we know about what is happening with the rest of the semester and exams.

If there is a strike, can I talk to my professor?

During a strike,  AUFA members are cut off from communication with students. If there is information, reference letters or things you need for December, it could be prudent to ask for those items this week.

What is the ASU doing?

We are committed to taking a strong pro-student stance. We will continue to meet with both parties and communicate effectively with students. We continue to urge both parties to conciliate without a labour action. We will be holding our fourth information session this week for students to ask questions and learn about collective bargaining in person. We will be sending out the date and time for that shortly.

How can I stay updated?

We will continue to update you through the all students through the all student emails with the header “Collective Bargaining- An Update from the ASU” as well as posting all info and content surrounding Collective Bargaining to our website. We encourage you to reach out and ask the ASU any questions or concerns you may have. We will be putting all information on our website as well: http://theasu.ca/collective-bargaining-2017/

As always, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Grace Hamilton-Burge

ASU President


Current Updates (ordered by date/time posted)


All-Student Email – “Collective Bargainging – An Update from the ASU”

Posted on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Good Afternoon Acadia Students,

We understand this is a sensitive time for students. As students ourselves, we are feeling similar stresses. We are committed to keeping you updated and will be sending out information all week about how collective bargaining is progressing. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns to gracehamilton-burge@acadiau.ca

Update on collective bargaining: 

Most recent information:

  • Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) and the Board of Governors met Thursday, Nov. 16th
  • No movement occurred from either side during this conciliation session

What we know:

  • AUFA still has a strike deadline of Monday, Nov. 27th
  • There is currently no scheduled conciliation meeting

Frequently asked questions:

What is the likelihood of a strike? 

Speculation at anytime during negotiations is very challenging and rarely accurate. AUFA has set a strike deadline for Nov. 27th and there is currently no meeting scheduled between now and that time. We will encourage both parties to find time for another conciliation meeting.

Has there ever been a labour disruption at Acadia?

Yes, there has been two strikes in Acadia’s history.

The first strike occurred on February 24th 2004 and lasted approximately 18 days to March 12th. Major issues during the 2004 AUFA strike were wages, job security, fairness and equity in managerial practices, the integration of part-timers and faculty retention and recruitment. It is important to note that students at Acadia in 2004 did not lose any credits.

The second strike occurred on October 15th 2007 and lasted approximately 22 days to November 5th 2007. A Provincial mediator was appointed on November 1st and helped facilitate an agreement. The University gave returning students a $275 tuition credit for the winter semester. Again, no credits were lost.

What is going to happen to exams if there is a strike?

Ultimately, the academics of the University are left up to the discretion of Acadia Senate. If there is a strike that goes into the exam period there are few options. Firstly, exam period could be shortened to accommodate any lost time. Secondly, exams could be administered in different ways such as by proctor somewhere else, take home or more weight could be put on different parts of the semester. This would be worked out with Senate and each individual class. There is an option that exams could be moved into January. If this was to occur, and there were to be students disadvantaged Acadia would work with them to the best of their ability to ensure they can still pursue their plans for January, such as graduation, exchange programs or masters programs. If in the event of a strike or lockout, we assure you we will be advocating for the best interest of students’ education before, during and after. We will work to give you adequate preparation time in order to help to prepare you on what to do and expect, as well as supporting students through any means possible.

I plan to graduate in December? Will this affect me?

If classes were to be suspended due to a strike or lockout, it is terribly uncommon for that to result in the cancelation of a semester. In 2004 and 2007, Acadia’s only labour disruptions, lasted 18 days and 22 days respectively. Neither of those labour disruptions resulted in the cancelation of an entire semester and students were able to graduate on time. In the Nova Scotia context, there is no record of students at a post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia losing a semester or more as the result of strike or lockout. The University would work with each student to ensure that the best possible situation would occur.

I have my flights booked home, what do I do?

At this time we do not advise changing any plans. If we were to strike we would keep you updated and let you know as soon as we know about what is happening with the rest of the semester and exams.

If there is a strike, can I talk to my professor?

During a strike,  AUFA members are cut off from communication with students. If there is information, reference letters or things you need for December, it could be prudent to ask for those items this week.

What is the ASU doing?

We are committed to taking a strong pro-student stance. We will continue to meet with both parties and communicate effectively with students. We continue to urge both parties to conciliate without a labour action. We will be holding our fourth information session this week for students to ask questions and learn about collective bargaining in person. We will be sending out the date and time for that shortly.

How can I stay updated?

We will continue to update you through the all students through the all student emails with the header “Collective Bargaining- An Update from the ASU” as well as posting all info and content surrounding Collective Bargaining to our website. We encourage you to reach out and ask the ASU any questions or concerns you may have. We will be putting all information on our website as well: http://theasu.ca/collective-bargaining-2017/

As always, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Grace Hamilton-Burge

ASU President


Update from the Acadia Board of Governors (BoG) – “Release to Acadia Community”

Posted on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 4:10 PM

On Tuesday, November 14th, 2017, the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) made a public announcement that they had issued a strike deadline of November 27, 2017.  Despite the AUFA announcement, both parties met with a provincially appointed conciliator on November 16, 2017, in the hope of being able to reach an agreement. Unfortunately the conciliation session did not result in any movement by either side to reach an agreement.

We are very concerned about the impact that a strike could have on the University at this point in our history.  This could be the third strike in five rounds of negotiations.  However, we simply cannot negotiate an agreement that is not affordable and would send the University back into a structural deficit.

We have tremendous respect for our colleagues who deliver a first-class undergraduate education to students at Acadia University.  We are also conscious of the impact that a strike could have on the entire Acadia University community, especially our current and future students who depend on the University for their education and their future success.

No further meetings are scheduled, but the University remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached without a work disruption.  We remain ready to negotiate an affordable agreement that will allow for a sustainable future for the entire Acadia University Community.

We will keep you apprised of any further developments as matters progress.

Sincerely

The Acadia University Administration Bargaining Team

Communications Contact: Jeff Banks at jeff.banks@acadiau.ca


“Acadia students worried as possible faculty strike looms” – Chronicle Herald

Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Please click on the photo of ASU President Grace Hamilton-Burge to visit the article on the  Chroncile Herald’s website.


All-Student Email – “Collective Bargaining – An Update from the ASU”

Posted on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 at 1:06 PM

Good morning Acadia students,

We have been notified that as of November 14th, the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) issued a strike deadline for Monday, November 27th.

We will be holding an information session for all students on Thursday, November 16th at 4:00 in the Michener Lounge located on the second floor of the Students’ Union Building.

What does this mean?

  • A strike deadline is the date set by AUFA’s executive team for when they would call a strike
  • This date is after the 14 day cooling-off period
  • 48 hours notice will still need to be given to the provincial government before occurring, the ASU would keep students notified at this time
  • This does not prevent the parties from meeting to come to an agreement, and the meeting on November 16th is still set to occur

What happens now?

  • The 14 day cooling off period began at 12:01am on Saturday Nov. 11th
  • During this cooling off period, no labour action can take place
  • The two parties can continue to meet with the conciliator and negotiate in order to reach a collective bargaining agreement

What will happen to exams if the strike does occur on November 27th?

  • The decisions about rescheduling classes and/or exams would be made by the Acadia University Senate and would depend on the length of the job action
  • The rescheduling would occur after an agreement has been met, which, depending on the length of the job action could happen in first term or second term
  • At no time in Acadia’s history have students ever lost a semester during collective bargaining
  • We are regularly reminding AUFA and the Board that a labour action during exam time would be extraordinarily disruptive to students and would not have the best interest of students in mind

What is the ASU doing and what should I be doing? 

  • Continue on with your classes and regular studying in preparation for exam period
  • Meetings are still scheduled to occur and we are hopeful that an agreement can be made before November 27th,  as it is very difficult to predict if and when an agreement will be met we advise students to not make any drastic changes at the moment to your holiday plans
  • We are regularly reminding AUFA and the Board that a labour action during exam time would be extraordinarily disruptive to students and would not have the best interest of students in mind
  • We will continue to address questions on how this will affect students and their education and continue to prepare students on what to expect
  • Come out to the information session at 4:00pm Thursday, Nov. 16th in the Michener Lounge to learn more

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out:

Grace Hamilton-Burge

ASU President

Email: Gracehamilton-burge@acadiau.ca


All-Student Email – “Collective Bargaining – An Update from the ASU”

Posted on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Hello Acadia Students,

Hopefully you’re having a relaxing and productive break!

Most recent update on Collective Bargaining: 

  • The conciliator filed a report to the provincial government stating that an impasse has been reached on Friday, November 4th
  • We have been informed that AUFA and the Board of Governors have a tentative meeting set (Nov. 16th) to continue to work towards a collective agreement

What does this mean? 

  • The Board of Governors and the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) have not yet come to an agreement
  • By filing an impasse report, the conciliator has determined that at the moment an agreement was not going to be reached

What happens now?

  • The 14 day cooling off period began at 12:01am on Saturday
  • During this cooling off period, no labour action can take place
  • The two parties can continue to meet with the conciliator and negotiate in order to reach a collective bargaining agreement 
  • This does not necessarily mean a strike or a lockout will automatically occur after the cooling off period, and it is not uncommon for weeks or months to pass before a labour action takes place
  • It is important to note that a labour action does not have to follow the cooling off period, both parties can continue to work with the conciliator to come to an agreement
  • Students would be notified 48hr in advance of a strike or a lockout anytime after the 12th day of the cooling off period

Will there be a strike or lockout, and what are the chances exams will be affected?

  • It is very difficult for anyone to predict if there will be a labour disruption but we are doing everything we can to stay in constant communication with both parties and to keep all students updated and informed
  • At no time in Acadia’s history have students ever lost a semester during collective bargaining
  • We are regularly reminding AUFA and the Board that a labour action during exam time would be extraordinarily disruptive to students and would not have the best interest of students in mind
  •  If a strike or lockout was to occur, the decisions about rescheduling classes and/or exams would be made by the Acadia University Senate and would depend on the length of the job action

What is the ASU doing?

  • We understand this can be uneasy for students, as students ourselves we are committed to making sure all students are informed and educated on the process with regular updates being sent
  • We will continue to meet with AUFA and the Board of Governors regularly to remind them that students should not be negatively affected in the negotiation process
  • We will continue to hope for the best but we are preparing for all possibilities
  • We will be putting out an email within the next few days with information about an info session for after the break
  • Any update we receive in regards to collective bargaining will be sent out in an all-student email with the subject “Collective Bargaining- An Update from the ASU”
  • We will continue to answer any questions or concerns you may have and bring it to the attention of both parties

Have any questions of concerns? Check out our website http://theasu.ca/collective-bargaining-2017/ and do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Grace Hamilton-Burge

ASU President

gracehamilton-burge@acadiau.ca


All-Student Email – “Collective Bargaining – An Update from the ASU”

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 11:25 AM

Hello Acadia Students,

The ASU has been informed of a few collective bargaining developments. If you are still unclear with any of the process please see the questions/answers bolded below or contact the ASU for more information.

Here’s what we know:

  • Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) received a positive strike vote mandate (the membership giving the bargaining team the ability to strike if they see fit) on Oct. 26th
  • AUFA and the Board of Governors met with the conciliator Monday, Nov. 6th
  • A tentative agreement has not been reached at this time
  • The report to the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education has not been filed but we have been informally told that the conciliator will likely file a report before Friday, Nov. 10th
  • The conciliator dictates when the report is filed and will let parties know if this occurs
  • As soon as a report is filed we will contact students to let them know
  • Collective Bargaining meetings can still continue to occur during this entire process
  • The ASU continues to urge both parties to come to a collective bargaining agreement without negatively affecting students

So what does this all mean?

  • Once the conciliator files a report, a two week ‘cooling off’ period is in effect, at which point no labour action can occur
  • At the end of the cooling off period, either AUFA or the Board of Governors can file for a labour action.
  • If a labour action is called there is 48 hr before a strike or a lockout would begin
  • No labour action (strike or lockout) could occur for at least 2 weeks
  • We are still hopeful that a collective bargaining agreement will be reached without a labour action

Please check out our website to stay updated with the ASU (http://theasu.ca/collective-bargaining-2017/) and as usual please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns:

Grace Hamilton-Burge
ASU President
ASUpresident@acadiau.ca


What is collective bargaining?
• Collective bargaining is a process that occurs every three or four years at Acadia
• A Collective Bargaining agreement is the contract between the Board of Governors (the employers) and the Acadia University Faculty Association (the employees)
• The ASU has no legal spot at the table or within collective bargaining, but we do meet with both parties regularly and are dedicated to keeping students informed as they are huge stakeholders during this process.

What are they negotiating over?
• The Board of Governors and the faculty are negotiating to reach a new collective agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of employees and employers
• This is the negotiations for the 15th collective agreement, the 14th can easily be accessed https://hr.acadiau.ca/tl_files/sites/hr/Collective%20Agreements/A UFA_CollectiveAgreement.pdf

What is conciliation?
• When one of the negotiating parties files for conciliation it means that a neutral 3rd party assigned by the Provincial Government is being asked to step in and act as a moderator for negotiations in hopes of reaching a Collective Agreement
• A conciliator is assigned by the Provincial Government and has no authority in decision making, but is extremely knowledgeable in effective negotiation procedures.
• The conciliator first meets with both parties to get a summary of all outstanding issues
• The conciliator then works with the parties separately to gain details about each party’s view on the outstanding issues and helps to find an agreement between the two.

How does conciliation end?
• Conciliation ends when the conciliator files a legal report that an agreement has been met or determines that an agreement will not be reached and declares an impasse
• The conciliator will only file a report for an impasse if they feel that all other avenues within conciliation have been exhausted
• The report shows that the conciliator cannot help the two parties reach an agreement and is filed to the Provincial Government.
• A 14-calendar-day countdown period begins at 12:01 am on the day following the filing of the report.
• During the countdown period, the employer is not permitted to increase or decrease rates of wages or alter any other term or condition of employment.

What is a strike vote?
• A strike vote is when one party holds a vote to determine if the majority of their members are in favour of holding a strike at some point.
• A strike vote does not mean that a strike will automatically happen. If it is successful it does not mean it will necessarily happen but that they have the power to if and when they deem necessary
• Regardless if it passes, the conciliator will typically try to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table to come to an agreement.
• A strike vote is historically typical in Collective Bargaining negotiations, as it may be made to gain more leverage at the bargaining table.

How does a strike or lockout occur?
• For a strike to occur the faculty will have to receive a mandate from its membership to strike (50%+1)
• We have been informed that this vote will happen Monday 23rd- Wednesday 25th
• As indicated in the beginning, a strike vote does not necessarily mean that they will strike (and legally cannot until after an impasse report has been filed by the conciliator) but that they have the ability to declare on if and when they deem it necessary
• Alternatively, the Board could initiate a lock out – which is a process that happens within
• The strike or lockout can only occur 14 days after the conciliatorfiles their report with the Provincial Government (often known as the cooling off period)
• After that time, they then must provide 2 day’s notice to the Provincial Government.
• Negotiations can occur anytime during these 14 days.

What happens during the 14 day cooling off period?
• A 14-calendar-day countdown period begins at 12:01 am on the day following the conciliator’s report of an impasse
• During the countdown period, the employer is not permitted to increase or decrease rates of wages or alter any other term or condition of employment
• The Conciliator may request the parties to attend a meeting during the countdown period in a further attempt to reach a settlement and avoid a work stoppage
• For any labour disruption (a lockout or a strike) the following things must occur:
• The 14-calendar-day countdown must have expired; and
• A written 48 hours’ notice of intention to strike by the union or lockout by the employer must be received by the Minister

What has happened in the past?
• In labor agreement negotiations, conciliation is typically the norm, which has also been the trend in the history of our institution
• Acadia has only experienced a labour disruption twice in its history
• The first strike occurred on February 24th of 2004 and lasted approximately 18 days to March 12th
• The second strike occurred on October 15th of 2007 and lasted approximately 22 days to November 5th 2007
• In both cases, no semester was lost and students graduated on time

What has the ASU done?
• We have been meeting with AUFA and the Board of Governors since June 7th
• We have been communicating updates to students since July 11th
• On July 11th, we sent an all student email that collective bargaining was occurring this year and information on how the process occurs
• On Aug. 2nd, we communicated with the Student media, The Athenaeum, about the process
• On Sept. 6th, we sent an all student email with information about the collective bargaining process and updated students that AUFA has filed for conciliation
• On Oct. 17th, we sent an all student email with information about how the process of conciliation works
• On Oct. 18th, we sent an all student email about strike votes and what occurred in conciliation. We also created a info website and set two information session events.
• On Oct. 19th and 23rd, we are held information sessions and Q&A’s for students
• On Oct. 26th we notified students that AUFA received a positive strike mandate
• On Oct. 26th we submitted a press release stating our pro-student stance and that we urge both parties to come to a collective agreement that does not negatively affect the education of students
• On Oct. 31st we sent students information stating that both parties would be meeting with the conciliator on Monday, Nov. 6th

What is the ASU’s plan moving forward?
• We will continue to take a pro-student stance
• What does a pro student stance mean?
• We are pro students receiving the education they paid for
• We are ‘pro’ an agreement that has the best interest of students as a priority
• As soon as we are notified of any new development we will email the student body with an update- all emails will come with the heading: “Collective Bargaining- An Update from the ASU”
• We are always available to meet with you in person if you have any concerns


All-Student Email – “Collective Bargaining – An Update from the ASU”

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 2:25 PM

Hello Acadia Students,

The Acadia University Faculty Association and the Board of Governors will be meeting with the conciliator Monday, November 6th to continue to working towards the 15th Collective Bargaining Agreement. We will continue to keep you updated with any progress or changes.

Please see our website for morning information on collective bargaining negotiations: http://theasu.ca/collective-bargaining-2017/

Thank you for staying connected with the ASU during this time! Should you have any questions please reach out to:

Grace Hamilton-Burge

ASU President

GraceHamilton-Burge@acadiau.ca

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Kings County Register – “Acadia professors vote in favour of striking after conciliation talks break down”

Posted on Sunday, October 29th, 2017 at 9:45 PM

Please click the photo below to be directed to the article on the Kings County Register’s website.


Chronicle Herald Newspaper – “Avoid strike, Acadia Students’ Union urges”

Posted on Saturday, October 28th, 2017 at 6:55 PM

Please click on the photo below to be directed to the article on the Chronicle Herald’s website.


Axe Radio Interview with AUFA

Posted on Saturday, October 28th, 2017 at 2:25 PM

Huge shout out to ASU Internal Organizations Axe Radio and The Athenaeum for this informative interview with Dr. Rachel Brickner, spokesperson for the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA). Please click on the photo below to be directed to the Axe Radio Mixcloud interview.


“Strike Vote Weaker Than Expected” – A Collective Bargaining Update from the Athenaeum

Posted on Friday, October 27th, 2017 at 10:05 AM

Please click the photo below to be directed to the article on the Athenaeum’s website.


Statement from the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA)

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 at 6:43 PM

“Strong Strike Mandate from Acadia Faculty”

October 26, 2017
For Immediate Release

Faculty at Acadia University have given their union, the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA), a strong strike mandate. 81.6% of members of the bargaining unit cast ballots, with 81.1% of those voters authorizing a strike mandate to support their bargaining team.

“This vote should send a clear message to the Board of Governors at Acadia University,” said AUFA President Stephen Ahern. “Our members are determined to get a fair and equitable agreement.”

Several substantial issues remain on the table, including restoring full-time faculty positions, addressing pay equity, achieving salaries in line with regional averages, and gaining a commitment to fundraise for a campus childcare centre. The Board has rejected faculty proposals and is asking for significant concessions, including increasing class sizes for part-time faculty while clawing back their compensation.

“The academic integrity of the university is on the line here,” said Ahern. “We need the Board to show a genuine commitment to the university’s academic mission. A fair and equitable collective agreement is key to this mission. It will ensure good working conditions that allow us attract and keep excellent faculty who in turn attract and teach our excellent students.”

Bargaining began in March 2017 and proceeded well until the end of June, when the Board refused to make counter proposals to a faculty offer. AUFA filed for the assistance of a provincial conciliator in early September. Conciliation, scheduled for October 16-17, stalled on the first day when the employer refused to make meaningful changes to its position from June.

“The faculty association would like to avoid job action,” said Ahern. “But we need the Board to engage in meaningful negotiation. Productive bargaining requires two committed parties.”

AUFA is calling on the Board to return to the table with the help of the provincial conciliator in order to reach a fair settlement.

The Acadia University Faculty Association is the certified bargaining agent for 331 full-time and part-time professors, librarians, archivists, and instructors.

-30-

Contact:
Rachel Brickner
Spokesperson, Acadia University Faculty Association

Phone: 902-698-2929

A PDF version of the AUFA media release is available on the AUFA website or by clicking here.


Statement from the Acadia Students’ Union

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 at 6:50 PM

Acadia Students’ Union – Collective Bargaining at Acadia University”

For immediate release

October 26th, 2017

Today, Acadia Students’ Union (ASU) was notified that the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) received a positive strike vote mandate from their membership with 81.1% of voters authorizing a strike mandate to support their bargaining team. Out of the 331 members eligible to vote, 270 members cast ballots (66.2% voted yes, 15.4% voted no, 18.4% did not vote).

As conciliation between the two parties is ongoing, the ASU strongly urges both parties to collaborate effectively and come to an agreement as soon as possible. The ASU is in support of a fairly negotiated collective agreement that benefits the quality and accessibility of students’ education.

“We strongly advise both parties to work together to explore any and all avenues in order to come to an agreement that does not negatively affect the quality or the cost of post-secondary education at Acadia,” says Acadia Students’ Union President, Grace Hamilton-Burge.

Students are heavily invested in their education at Acadia University. It is important that the negotiations occurring between the Board of Governors and AUFA do not negatively affect the current students who have contributed a great deal to this institution. A collective agreement that balances quality of education, affordability, and accessibility will benefit current and future students.

We will continue to take a pro-student stance in communicating to both parties and in advocating for negotiations to continue in a timely manner.

For more information, comments or questions please contact:

Grace Hamilton-Burge
Acadia Students’ Union President
asupresident@acadiau.ca
902-585-2131


Axe Radio Interview with the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA)

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 at 5:01 PM

Please click the photo to visit the Axe Radio Facebook post to submit questions to IO Coordinator Blake Ward and his staff.


All-Student Email – Collective Bargaining – An Update From The ASU

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 at 4:49 PM

We have been notified by Acadia University Faculty Association that they have received a positive strike vote mandate from their membership (66.2% voted yes, 15.4% voted no, 18.4% did not vote out of 331 members). Although they have been given a mandate to be able to strike if they see fit, the following actions would have to occur before a strike could be called.

  • The conciliator would have to file a report with the Provincial Government declaring an impasse (this has not been done).
  • After the conciliator files a report, a 14-day ‘cooling off’ period begins. At this point, both parties can continue to negotiate.
  • After the 12th day, either party can notify the government of a labour action (strike or a lockout). The labour action cannot begin until 48hr after the government is notified.

The ASU has worked on, and continues to work on a plan to ensure students are affected as little as possible in the event of a strike or a lockout. This includes educating students on the logistics, urging the parties to continue negotiating, researching tuition rebates, continuing communication with both parties, providing study space and educational supports and anything else that students need from the ASU.

The ASU is a student-led organization, and we feel what you are feeling as a student, because we are students too. We are here for any questions you may have and hope you will reach out to us with any concerns so we can help you feel as comfortable as possible with your knowledge on the process of Collective Bargaining. The ASU has no legal seat in Collective Bargaining, but are working with both parties to keep students as a priority while negotiations continue. Please see below for the public statement addressing both parties.

Acadia Students’ Union is committed to keeping a pro-student stance throughout the Collective Bargaining process. After receiving news of a positive strike vote mandate (66.2% voted yes, 15.4% voted no, 18.4% did not vote out of 331 members) from the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) we are urging both the Board of Governors and AUFA to meet again with the conciliator to come to an agreement for the 15th Collective Bargaining Negotiations. We encourage positive collaboration with the Board and AUFA and ask both parties to keep the needs of students on the forefront of their conversations.

Thank you for keeping engaged during this process,

Grace Hamilton-Burge
ASU President
asupresident@acadiau.ca

 

Are they striking? 

No, at the moment the faculty union only has a strike vote mandate. They are still legally in conciliation  (which is when  a neutral 3rd party assigned by the Provincial Government to be a mediator.)

When would a strike happen? 

A strike could only happen once the conciliator deems an impasse and files for an impasse report. Then there would be a 14 day cooling off period, on the 12th day if the faculty union feels a strike is needed they would give the provincial government 48 hours notice. After the 14 day expires, they could strike.

When do we think this will happen? 

There are too many variables at this moment to speculate. We are urging the parties to go back to the table, and hope that a negotiation agreement can be reached without an impasse having to be filed. The conciliator could call the parties back to the table tomorrow or it could be weeks from now. We will continue to keep you updated as soon as we know.

What would I expect for my education if a strike or lockout was to occur, would I be expected to learn the material during that time? 

From examining previous labour disruptions in the province, it all depends on the length of the labor disruption. The decision would come down to a per class situation, in which best judgment would have to be made by the department on what is appropriate to expect from students to have learned during a strike or lockout. If in the event of a strike or lockout, we assure you we will be advocating for the best interest of students’ education before, during and after. We will give you adequate preparation time in order to help to prepare you on what to do and expect, as well as supporting students through any means possible.

What are they negotiating about this time? 

We have asked both parties for an official statement on what they are negotiating about. However, the parties have both communicated that they are not publicly sharing this information at the moment as it would be considered in “bad faith” negotiating. We have raised this concern as we understand students are receiving this information from other sources. We will continue to put any information surrounding the negotiations on our website and will update as soon as any information is given to us.

What happened last time? 

The negotiations for the previous collective bargaining agreement (the 14th) started in the summer of 2014 and continued into 2015, and was signed in March. The negotiations did not come to any labour disruption (strike or lockout.)

What was negotiated on last time? 

To the best of our knowledge, the 14th Collective Agreement was centered around 3 main points

  1. A join financial review of the institutions done by the Faculty and the Board of Governors
  2. Pension Plans
  3. Faculty Compliment (the number of tenure and tenure-track positions – the status granted to an employee, usually after a probationary period, indicating that the position or employment is permanent.)

Has there ever been a strike or lockout? 

Yes, there have been two strikes in Acadia’s history, no lockouts. The first strike occurred on February 24th, 2004 and lasted approximately 18 days to March 12th. Major issues during the 2004 AUFA strike were wages, job security, fairness and equity in managerial practices, the integration of part-timers and faculty retention and recruitment. It is important to note that students at Acadia in 2004 did not lose any credits. The second strike occurred on October 15th, 2007 and lasted approximately 22 days to November 5th, 2007. A Provincial mediator was appointed on November 1st and helped facilitate an agreement. The University gave returning students a $275 tuition credit for the winter semester. Again, no credits were lost.

I’m in my last year. Will this affect my graduation? 

There is no cause for a panic as the administration and faculty are still in conciliation and a successful strike vote does not mean that they will necessarily strike. If, however, classes were to be suspended due to a strike or lockout, it is terribly uncommon for that to result in the cancellation of a semester. In 2004 and 2007, Acadia’s only labour disruptions, lasted 18 days and 22 days respectively. Neither of those labour disruptions resulted in the cancellation of an entire semester and students were able to graduate on time. In the Nova Scotia context, there is no record of students at a post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia losing a semester or more as the result of strike or lockout.

What is the ASU doing right now? 

We are taking a pro-student stance which means meeting and communicating with both parties to urge them back to the negotiating table and keeping students at the forefront of their minds during this process. We will be continuing to communicate, hold info sessions and forums, and be representing the best interest of the students throughout this process. Our pro-student stance will progress when need be; however, at this time, we want to continue ensuring that we are receiving up to date information and that negotiations are the best option moving forward.

How can I stay updated? 

We will continue to update you through the all students through the all-student emails with the header “Collective Bargaining- An Update from the ASU” as well as posting all info and content surrounding Collective Bargaining to our website: http://theasu.ca/collective-bargaining-2017/. We encourage you to reach out and ask the ASU any questions or concerns you may have.


We Pay To Learn – A Collective Bargaining Update from the Athenaeum

Posted on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 at 7:18 PM

Please click the photo below to be directed to the article on the Athenaeum’s website.

 


Collective Bargaining Information Session Powerpoint Presentation

Posted on October 20th, 2017  at 2:00 PM

Click on the image below to go to the full PDF version of the PowerPoint Presentation that was provided for students on Thursday, October 19th, 2017 at 4:30 PM in the Michener Lounge by Samantha Nixon, VP Academic and External, and Grace Hamilton-Burge, President. Huge thanks to Axe Radio for live streaming the presentation at https://www.facebook.com/axeradio/videos/1659741280744744/.



All-Student Email – Collective Bargaining Update & Info Session

Posted on October 18th 2017 at 6:00 PM

“Good Evening Students,

An email from the ASU was sent out yesterday providing updated information on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, between the Acadia University Faculty Association and the Board of Governors. We have met with both parties today and we would like to update and clarify the information that may be seen or heard around campus.

  • Conciliation started Monday, October 16th
  • The Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) has officially set the dates for holding a strike vote within their membership for Monday 23rd – Wednesday 25th
  • Conciliation is still ongoing and the vote does not mean that they will necessarily strike. They would first have to file an impasse with the conciliator, have a two week cooling off period, and then notify the government 2 days prior to a labour action (strike or lockout)

You may have seen an information booth for the Acadia University Faculty Association in the Beverage Arts Centre. This booth will be there until the end of the strike vote, with the purpose of communicating to their membership (the faculty) on what is going on with negotiations. The faculty union at the booths will provide you with factual information about the process if you would like to go and speak with them, but the ASU is the best option for student-focused information. We understand the concern that this brings to you as a student.  We will continue to update about the process to the best of our ability and share any information that is sent our way. We are dedicated to giving you the most up-to-date and accurate information, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Information sessions will be held in the Michener Lounge located in the ASU Students’ Centre: 

  •      Thursday, October 19th 4:30-5:30  
  •      Monday, October 23rd 4:30-5:30  

Grace Hamilton-Burge, ASU President, and Samantha Nixon, VP Academic and External, will be in the Michener Lounge these dates to give background information on the process and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you there!”



Questions?

Collective Bargaining Contact Us



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