April 24 Joint Media Release

April 24, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE: Joint Statement Against Bill 100

Halifax, NS – Students, Faculty, Staff and the Labour Movement are united against Bill 100 introduced on April 22. According to Rick Clarke (President of Nova Scotia Federation of Labour), “This Bill raises serious concerns for all of us, and will be legally challenged if not changed from its present form”.

At the very least, we think that Section 8 and references to it throughout the Bill must be scrapped. Ideally, Bill 100 should be put on hold until there has been full and broad public consultation before it goes any further in the legislative process.

This Bill will infringe on the rights of students and workers and in the end, provide no new measures to present fiscal mismanagement at Nova Scotian universities. Instead, under the guise of making universities more accountable, the McNeil government is using this legislation to attack workers’ rights. In the same way that Bills 1 and Bill 37 attacked healthcare worker’s rights, Bill 100 (the Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act.), introduced on April 22, will create a tool to do exactly the same thing to unionized workers throughout the University sector.

Under this Bill, if a University wants to enter into a revitalization process and if it determines it has a “significant operating deficit”, the University gets broad, sweeping powers under Section 8 with respect to workers’ rights. It can forbid the signing of any collective agreement, ban strikes, and take away the ability of unionized employees to start or continue any grievance that relates in whole or in part to the development of the revitalization plan or process.

This Act does nothing to improve accountability of university administrators, but seriously undermines the rights of students and workers. Collective bargaining plays a pivotal role in protecting academic freedoms and quality education in Nova Scotia, and it should never be at risk.

Students and workers are the whistle blowers for administrative malpractice at our universities. This Bill will muzzle internal criticism and give university administrators an easy way out if they jeopardize the fiscal health of their institutions through mismanagement.”

We called for financial oversight during the university consultation last fall to ensure that money is not diverted from universities’ core operating budget, which fund academic programs, to capital investment, administrative compensation, and other non-academic budgets. Bill 100 does not reflect this key concern. It substitutes generic accountability to the taxpayer” political advertising for educational priorities. Do we want a post-secondary education system that primarily satisfies business interests, or one that educates people?

In giving Universities these unprecedented powers with this Bill, the McNeil Liberals are once again attacking workers, while at the same time, eroding the relative autonomy of our Universities. How many court challenges and Supreme Court of Canada decisions will it take for this Government to realise that the right to strike is a Constitutional Right?

In conclusion, Section 8 and any references to it in Bill 100 must be scrapped. As the government is clearly rushing to end the Spring Sitting of the Legislature, the best immediate step to take would be to table the Bill so that there can be full and broad public consultation before it goes any further in the legislative process.

‘Bargaining in Bad Faith’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2015
CUPE Local 3912 files ‘Bargaining in Bad Faith’
complaint against Dalhousie University
(Halifax) – The union representing 1,600 Part-time Academics, Instructors, Teaching Assistants, Markers and Demonstrators at Dalhousie University has filed a Bargaining in Bad Faith complaint against their employer.

CUPE National Representative Marianne Welsh says, “The Parties met with a provincially-appointed Conciliation Officer on two dates in November and one in February.

“Last week CUPE Local 3912 filed a complaint under the Trade Union Act alleging that Dalhousie University has failed to comply with a section of the Act that compels both parties to „make every reasonable effort to reach a collective agreement‟.

“In the complaint,” says Welsh, “CUPE alleges that Dalhousie has failed to fulfill this statutory duty by maintaining a bargaining position that would exclude employees in one faculty from the bargaining unit.”
CUPE Local 3912‟s current collective agreement expired August 31, 2012.

For information:
Marianne Welsh Steve Cloutier John McCracken
CUPE National Representative President, CUPE 3912 CUPE Communications Representative
(902) 818-4125 (902) 440-4549 (902) 880-8057

NATIONAL ADJUNCT DAY OF ACTION FORUM: University Life as a Contract Academic

NATIONAL ADJUNCT DAY OF ACTION FORUM: University Life as a Contract Academic
 
WHEN: Wednesday February 25
 
WHERE: Saint Mary’s University, McNally East, Room 111
 
TIME:  3 to 6 PM AFTERNOON
 
The format is for 90 minutes or so of short (10 minute) presentations, followed by a question & answer period and a discussion about the issues facing contract academics.
 
SPEAKERS: 
 
1. Phil Bennett, Adjunct Professor, Astronomy & Physics, SMU, and Vice President CUPE 3912 (Saint Mary’s)
 
2. Karen Harper, Adjunct Professor, School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Biology, Dalhousie, and member, Contract Academic Staff Working Group
 
3. Marc Lamoureux, President, SMUFU
 
4. Matthew Furlong, ANSUT Communications Officer
Contract academics work in a state of precarious employment with little or no benefits, little or no control over their work environment, and little or no involvement in university governance. Contract academics work in a very different environment from that of traditional “collegiate university” of the permanent faculty.

This forum is being organized by Phil Bennett of SMU. Phil is still seeking more speakers so if anyone would like to participate please contact him at: pbennett@ap.smu.ca.    We especially want to hear your experiences and your thoughts on how things can be changed for the better.

 

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International Women’s Day

Celebrate International Women’s Day
Our Bodies, Our Territories.
The Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council invites union members, social movement activists, and members of the public to celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8th at 1:30 pm at Grand Parade in front of Halifax City Hall.
The last number of years have seen a series of anti-women actions from both the federal and provincial governments, as well a number of major news stories about sexism and sexual assault in our workplaces, communities and schools. The Labour Council is working with our allies in the women’s community to build support for real equity programmes and an end to sexism and gender-based violence. We demand action on child care, equal pay, reproductive health care, and a inquiry into the hundreds of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in our country.
Labour Councils across the country will be organizing International Women’s Day events under the slogan ‘Our Bodies, Our Territories’ with actions planned in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and dozens of smaller cities around the country.
When: Sunday, March 8th at 1:30 pm
Where: Grand Parade in front of Halifax City Hall
Why: To celebrate International Women’s Day and demand action
Who: Everyone concerned about women’s equality in our society
Bring your banners and flags! :)
For more information contact:
Dawn Ferris, VP Women’s Rights at the Labour Council
dawn.ferris@dal.ca

AUFA Talks break down, Wolfville NS

Conciliation talks between the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) and the Acadia Board of Governors broke down for a second time shortly after 7 p.m. on Friday, January 30th. Conciliator Jarrod Baboushkin has indicated that he will file his report with the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education on Monday, February 2nd, triggering a 14-day waiting period before a strike or lockout could begin.

AUFA President Rachel Brickner reported that the two sides were close to a deal, with AUFA making “significant concessions” in its last offer on the number of tenure-track positions and compensation, asking for increases below the cost of living. Key components of the Board’s offer were contingent on enrolment levels and pension reform. Brickner noted that Acadia’s Pension Plan includes other employee groups, and this would hand control over AUFA’s contract to people not in the Association. “AUFA made every effort to reach a collective agreement,” Brickner said, “but in the end, we could not compromise further without jeopardizing the academic integrity of the university.”

A twelve-hour conciliation session on January 16th failed to produce an agreement, and the AUFA membership voted overwhelmingly on January 22nd to reject that offer from the Board. Brickner says that AUFA’s Negotiating Team remains ready to resume talks if the Board will improve its offer.

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National Adjunct Day, February 25th

February 25th, National Adjunct Action Day (February 23-27, National
Adjunct Action Week), is a day adjuncts* all over North America will bring
attention to the plight of part-time, contingent university instructors.
There are shared goals and concerns to be certain, but exactly how adjuncts use the day or week is to be determined by each adjunct, group, or campus.
CUPE 3912,representing part-time instructors at Dalhousie, Saint Mary
and Mount Saint Vincent universities, encourages our members to wear black armbands on February 25th.

We encourage adjuncts to work together with other groups for maximum effect.
Support #NAWD.

National Adjunct Walkout Day
*Adjunct is the US term for parttime, contingent university
instructors.
CUPE 3912: Contact Shaun Bartone at bartones@dal.ca for assistance with organizing for National Adjunct Action Day on your campus.

Nominations for the CUPE Nova Scotia Provincial Literacy Award

CUPE Nova Scotia has announced that nominations are open for the 2015 Barbara Kowalski Annual Literacy Award.

Literacy is the ability to read, write, work with numbers, problem solve, communicate and think critically at whatever level is basic to the task at hand. Literacy empowers us to:

a) assert our rights and build our Union

b) act as full citizens and change society

c) question, evaluate, and envision

d) develop our knowledge and potential at work, at home, and in our community

What is “Clear Language”?
a) language that readers can understand

b) design that makes documents easy to read and easy to use

For more information on the CUPE Literacy Project go to http://cupe.ca/literacy

The Executive of CUPE Nova Scotia are looking for literacy champions. There are two awards: one for an individual member and one for a Local Union that has promoted workplace literacy and clear language. A literacy champion might:

a) encourage other CUPE members to learn

b) model lifelong learning by following their own learning tools

c) raise awareness on literacy and clear language within the Union and workplace

d) help build the Union through literacy and clear language

The member(s) may have participated in a literacy program or helped start one in their Local, or promoted worker education in some other way. The Local Union must have participated in a literacy program and helped build a Union-centered education program in the workplace or it may have promoted worker education in some other way. There are many ways to be literacy champions. Champions will be CUPE members in good standing.

If you are interested in applying for the Barbara Kowalski Literacy Award, please contact Renee Dankner at the CUPE 3912 office at: cupe3912@dal.ca or at (902) 494-8872. Deadline for nominations is March 15, 2015.