AUFA has emerged victorious from Salaries & Benefits arbitration. The most recent round of S&B bargaining ended an impasse. Under the PSLA (Post-secondary Learning Act), such impasses had to be resolved via arbitration, in a process known as final-offer selection. In final-offer selection, each party in the negotiations presents its best final offer to an arbitrator, who chooses between them. AUFA’s offer was a two-year deal, with a 2% cost-of-living increase for each of 2016–17 and 2017–18. The employer presented a three-year deal that included a freeze on annual merit increments in 2017–18 and 2018–19 and decreases to professional development allowances. Ultimately, Arbitrator Jones found the employer’s final offer to be unreasonable in comparison to settlements at other universities and colleges in Alberta and thus selected AUFA’s final offer.
AUFA President Lawton Shaw praised the AUFA Salaries & Benefits bargaining team, consisting of Geoff Loken (chair), Rachel Conroy, Nick Driedger, Jason Foster, and Terra Murray. “Our bargaining team was well prepared for bargaining, put together a compelling case for AUFA’s final offer, and won the day. AUFA members are deeply appreciative of their work.
The arbitration decision can be found here...
Lawton Shaw, PhD
President, Athabasca University Faculty Association
Associate Professor (Chemistry)
AUFA membership have voted with an 87% majority to create a Lockout / Strike Fund, in response legislation changes which returns the right to strike for faculty associations. The motion came from recommendations which were presented to the AUFA membership on behalf of the Ad-hoc Lockout / Strike committee.
The following changes were approved:
- A transfer of $200,000 from AUFA's operating surplus into a strike fund
- A dues increase of 0.2% which will go exclusively to the strike fund
This fund will be used for strike pay, insurance, and health benefits during any work stoppage. As well, they will be used to pay into the CAUT Defense Fund, which functions as work stoppage insurance for faculty associations.
These changes leave AUFA well-prepared for future negotiations with Athabasca University, ensuring it has the organizational and financial means to negotiate the best possible contract for its members.
AUFA strongly supports the Respect Vegreville campaign and calls upon Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to stop plans to relocate the Vegreville Immigration Centre to Edmonton. This closure will affect roughly 280 jobs and devastate the town. Rural communities have been hit especially hard during the economic downturn in Alberta, and it is vital that there be stable public sector employment in rural Alberta.
The Respect Vegreville campaign is a social media campaign organized by the Public Service Alliance of Canada to keep the Immigration Centre in Vegreville and save rural jobs. They're asking supporters to write to Immigration Minister Ahemd Hussen, print and share the campaign poster, and share their support on social media.
Many AUFA members and executive officers are located in the town of Athabasca, and we stand by our rural community. Pictured left to right are Treasurer James Haubrich, Executive Director Nick Driedger, Vice-President Rachel Conroy, and Secretary Dave Powell, all proud Athabasca residents.
The 29 January 2017 attack at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, which left six Muslim worshippers dead and another nineteen wounded, was a chilling reminder that Canada is not immune to violence inspired by blind hatred. The Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA) joins with citizens across the country in unconditionally condemning any and all actions founded on racism and xenophobia, of which Islamophobia is but one expression. We equally condemn speech that encourages such actions, whether directly or indirectly, by implying that racist attitudes are in some way reasonable or acceptable. We in Canada are rightly proud of our embrace of multiculturalism, and we must together assume the responsibility for safeguarding it, especially at a time when powerful political currents have contributed to a resurgence of racist sentiments worldwide.
AUFA reiterates its unalloyed commitment to human rights and respect for human dignity, to anti-racism, and to the pursuit of equity and social justice. We extend our profound sympathies to those whose lives have been irrevocably marred by this tragedy and express our grief that such an act of inhumanity is still possible in this country. In recognition of the implications of this attack, we have moved as an association to donate $5,000 to the National Council of Canadian Muslims in support of their efforts to protect the civil liberties of Canadian Muslims and provide needed aid to the victims’ families, to combat racism and Islamophobia, and to foster public education.
The Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA) is deeply concerned by the recent Executive Order by the United States President that restricts the ability of students, faculty, staff, and other members of the international academic community from certain countries from being able to enter or return to the United States. While we recognize that national security is important, this Executive Order is contrary to the values we hold dear as members of an international academic community at Athabasca University. The AUFA community, like that in all universities from across Canada and the United States, is intellectually enriched by the scholarly work by faculty and students from around the world, including the affected countries. AUFA believes it is imperative that the United States continues to welcome the best students, scholars, researchers, and instructors, of all backgrounds and nationalities. Further, the intellectual health of an academic community must be protected from discourses of racism, and from regulations that restrict the movement of people. It is incumbent upon the academic community to protect the academic freedom of scholars, and therefore AUFA strongly condemns recent Executive Orders enacted by President Trump. AUFA is committed to assisting any of our members impacted by these actions.