Daily Roundup (the morning after the night before edition)

Dear AUNBT Member,

I am sure you know: we are on strike and have received a lock-out notice. This roundup is mostly not about that, it is about member questions. Separate updates will go out from the team and president as they deem appropriate.

A heads-up from Strike HQ: for sharing your experience on the picket line, AUNBT members can send photos to aunbtstrikephotos@mail.com for posting online.  If you’re posting your photos on Facebook or Twitter, make sure to tag AUNBT.

And now for the update:

The day began yesterday with messages from colleagues all over the globe trying to catch up to the latest employer shenanigans about sabbatical leaves. While they agreed to permit people to continue their leave, they are requiring (and continue to require, despite some very confusing messaging on their labour updates site) that you give notice of your intention to continue your leave. You have until midnight on Tuesday to get your notice in. We are currently looking into the possibility of providing folks on maternity and parental leave with a top-up in lieu of strike pay for those members who are on these leaves and wish to join the strike. If that is you, please bear with us, we will have an answer before the deadline.

Many colleagues on leaves have indicated their support for the strike and for AUNBT, some of you are able to join the strike and we are deeply grateful for that, and we are also very grateful for the outpouring of support by those members who cannot join the strike and will be continuing their leave. Many of you worried that the employer would use your notice of an intention to continue your leave in a publicity stunt to suggest that you do not support your union. We are concerned about that, too. This employer is so different from UNB in pre-Eddy Campbell days that it is hard to know what Wisconsin-inspired crazy scheme they will think up next. But that is why we are on strike. We want our UNB back.

We were trying to get answers on some of the implications of the suspension of classes. It appears that all face-to-face teaching of for credit courses has been suspended. All online courses that are co-taught by a CAE and a FT member have been suspended.

Despite eloquent pleas from many members, the employer has persisted in its decision to shut off emails. The sole exception is email accounts for journals, but not emails of their respective editors-in-chief. That said, it would appear as of this morning that management does not understand the technical aspects of their operations any better than they understand the academic mission of UNB. They repeatedly told us that the effect of the email shut-off would be that emails would bounce and that the previously offered solution of a forwarding address would not work. As of this morning, that is incorrect for at least some members. Email accounts with previously set forwarding addresses seem to have UNB emails come to those addresses without disruption. We are not sure whether this is malice, incompetence or an ugly mixture of both. If you are receiving UNB emails, we would remind you that responding to some work-related email may be struck work. You will have to exercise judgment: is this email about or for UNB, or is it about and for your own advancement and/or reputation. We appreciate that there will be some difficult choices. If you are uncertain, feel free to contact me at member_issues@aunbt.ca and we can ponder together.

The employer is intent on making life difficult for students. Not only have they shut off emails, we just heard that they have shut down our professional web pages. One lesson we can probably all learn from this is that using UNB mail and web pages is not a good idea, even when we go back to work. This writer will be discontinuing both.

The employer made use of member pleas for continued email access to communicate directly with members about their bargaining position. So a number of you were told (and the world was told online) that AUNBT was to blame for the absence of a strike protocol. You all know better, but if you get asked by neighbours or friends, here are the facts for easy reference: the employer walked away from the side table charged with negotiating a strike protocol when we indicated that we would not agree to forcing our colleagues from the Faculty of Nursing to cross the picket line and that we would uphold our right to picket, including at the President’s mansion, but also at the Corbett Centre and the Moncton and Bathurst campuses. The implications of agreeing to limits on our right to picket are obvious. While we appreciate that Eddy Campbell would like to remain above the upheaval he has caused UNB (rumour even has it that he is planning to leave town tomorrow for two weeks, we can’t confirm or deny that rumour), we think the President should pay attention to the strike and remember or be reminded of the principle of collegiality that should inform university governance.

What may be less obvious is the situation in Nursing. Talk to your nursing colleagues to get a more complete picture, but here is some background: For many years now, the administration has starved the nursing program of core funding. Successive deans of Nursing have responded to this ever greater crisis by seeking out additional provincial funding opportunities. These opportunities always came with strings attached. The Faculty was required to graduate more students, requiring more clinical placements. However, clinical opportunities are limited. This has led to a crisis in the Faculty of Nursing. The origin of this crisis is not the decision of the AUNBT membership to authorize a strike over issues of comparability of wages and workload. Rather, its origin is the same as is causing the strike: resource starving of core programs. Depriving our colleagues of the right to strike puts the blame for the crisis on the wrong shoulders.

We had more questions about accessing community services on campus yesterday. At that time, and having checked with management, we assured people that they could continue to use the Currie Center to exercise (preferably outside of picketing hours, or come to HQ and get a picket pass), go to film night, take conservatory classes etc. This morning we received notice of a lock-out. Whether the employer’s word of yesterday is worth more than the piece of paper that the lock-out notice was printed on today remains to be seen. The lock-out does not take effect until tomorrow, so tonight’s film night should be ok. We encourage members to come out and support the folks from the Film Coop tonight.

That’s it from the desk. Apologies for not sending the round-up last night, we were in meetings and discussions past midnight. See you on the picket line. Be warm! Be safe! Have fun!

Jula Hughes

Tags:

Categories: Bargaining news, Communication

21 Comments on “”

  1. LabGuy
    January 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    If Eddy Campbell chooses to defer the negotiating to the Provincial Government then why does he command a competitive salary?

    By the way, where is he? I haven’t seen any of his “truthiness” messages since Jan 13th.

    When the going gets tough, the tough certainly do get going… to China that is?

    So along with his PhD in Mathematics, it appears as though he has a Masters from the George Bush School of Leadership.

    BTW, there are many support staff that I know that fully support this strike.

  2. yahoooo
    January 16, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    As a student, will I get a reduced Brunswickan fee when I return?

    • M
      January 16, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      That’s a good question, but really a question more appropriate to ask the university administratorswho turned off the tap to the Brunswickian because their outlay for the year looked lower for the duration of the strike, rather than simply use their saved operating funds to pay its printing costs. If the school’s margin/budget/saved funds is REALLY SO LOW that their saved margin or rainy day fund can’t afford the printing fee for the Brunswickian for the limited time until the strike resolves, how thin are their margins? I mean, damn.

  3. M
    January 15, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Misconceptions abound – the university has (successfully) turned this into a debate about salaries, when the actual quality of life, program funding, and competition-related demands were part of the reason no deal could be made in the first place. The union had negotiated long and hard with UNB, including negotiating many non-monetary components to the would-be contract. At the last minute, the university kept professors talking and then backtracked on the non-salary parts while refusing to meet them on a salary demand the union had just decreased. This is what the union needs to be talking about, elaborating on the non-salary demands. Everyone is fixated on salary without understanding the wider university community needs to survive based on competitive placement and not (for example) gutting the nursing program core in the spirit of churning out more graduates, or hiring more administrators and less full time staff until the university becomes nothing but a bloated organism bowed under the weight of a tumorous risk management department.

    I go here, came here for a number of reasons which are NOT the subject of the strike, but I understand the nature of the strike. And you only have to look at some of the bad faith twitches by the university to understand this. Making it all about the money, using their PR department to get the message out first, slanted, and then repeatedly, and so on. Shutting down the Brunswickian “because of the strike” and so on, fair enough.

    Negotiations break down, and the strike exists as a hard fought labour right to do something when the employer will not budge on contract issues. The union budged, the university backtracked, but all blame falls on the strikers? No. Sure, they could have made no demands, but when an 11 month process breaks down because the university becomes intransigent just before the deadline – and then brings up back to work legislation RIGHT AWAY – that’s blatant bad faith.

    Speaking of back to work legislation, it is very suspicious that talk of it comes up RIGHT AWAY. Is that the new normal in Canada, that people who do everything right (the union gave notice, upheld its obligations, and is conforming with the requirements for a legal and courteous strike) – still get crushed by sudden government declaration to enforce a binding arbitration which will ignore what teachers want and ultimately side with the university?

    Let the private sector, and the market, handle itself here. If back to work legislation goes out, I surely hope AUNBT will challenge it, and I’d like to hear something to that effect.

    • Jayne
      January 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Don’t be naive, it’s always about money. If there was anything else the union would have made sure that’s what we were talking about. Instead all they talk about is the 20% difference between UNB and 5 other universities. No one says they don’t have a legal right to strike, we just think they are being greedy. They have not been hard done by and if they think it’s so horrible here they have the right to leave. What I do see are professional and transparent communications coming from the university and nothing but childish banter coming from the union. If the union feels we have not received all the relevant information, then why don’t they educate us and let us know how horrible and it what capacity the professors have been treated.

      • M
        January 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

        Oh yes, the union should use its control of news and university communications and its ability to use access to all students’ email addresses to send out union-related information (which is not allowed) to combat the strike-related communications websites “webinars” and articles put out by the university (which is allowed). Additionally even CBC coverage is slanted pro-university and against striking workers – there is a difference, and messaging ability is limited.

        So let’s be clear, anyone who disagrees with your position or take on the subject is “naive” and deserves to be derided as such, but your belief that there is one wrong party which is greedy and to blame, and one right party which is transparent and in no way to blame, is not naive?

        On a more topical note, I agree that the union has not adequately communicated the details of contract negotiations. There may be reasons for this which may be legal. We can agree that a given class of professionals is well paid – maybe in an ideal society we’d have more of a social safety net, more income equality across the market, and everyone would be paid less. But there’s the issue of what we, as outsiders who are NOT private actors forming a contract, think is right (I don’t think CEOs, or the university president, should make the huge salaries they do, but when negotiating that contract the CEOs or board of governors for example DO NOT CARE what I think about how much people are getting paid) –

        And then there is the separate legal right of a group to strike. Many people DO think this right should not exist and that unions should be forcibly busted in all places at all times, which is a step back and hearkens to a day when union protections developed into what they are today. You can take whatever position you want and blame one party or the other – but as an outsider to the contract who is not running the business or having to agree to terms, this is something people are obligated to simply respect and not interfere in.

        The reason we force people to live by the contracts they make is that we assume those contracts were fully and freely reached by independent private actors – who had the freedom to walk away if they didn’t like the terms. You can’t argue unions should be broken up and people shouldn’t be allowed to strike, and yet say that people should be held to a contract reached under collective bargaining no matter what. Contract revision and negotiation should ideally not end up in a strike, but when it does the cries always go out to bust all unions or outlaw strikes -and I have seen a lot of that rhetoric in the mere 2 days of the ongoing strike. So I might even agree that someone making 100,000 but demanding more money doesn’t NEED more money (setting aside the effects others have mentioned such as improving programs, advancing research, and attracting the best candidates to enhance whole departments), I will always defend the right of an individual to decide how much they will sell their labour for and on what terms – and to withhold that work subject to reasonable notice and courtesy as has been done here.

        You can’t make an argument for the sanctity of a contract and the importance of sticking to it in the process of working, then turn around and say that a person is forced to negotiate or keep working in a situation of impasse suitable to merit a strike. Their members agreed, by quite a majority vote. If the university isn’t profitable when the professors get paid well, then the university has some deeper financial mismanagement issues on where money is going first.

      • Jayne
        January 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

        My point is, it’s naive to think that it has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with money. If the professors were making lousy pay that would be one thing, but they’re not. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t get an increase, because they should. What I’m saying is, at some point they need to put things in perspective. You are right, we don’t know all the details but what the union has been talking about the most is wages. Everyone has the right to decide what they want to sell their labour for, and if the university can’t afford it then they have every right to go elsewhere. The point of the negotiation is to try and find a nice middle ground, it can’t be one side or the other. I’m not on one side or the other but I can see that the demands are high and ability to pay has to be recognized as well.

      • Going nowhere
        January 16, 2014 at 12:36 am #

        Jayne: Your suggestion that faculty “…right to go elsewhere…” is out of this world. Actually, faculty are not leaving simply because they “created” UNB. They are fixtures here. Administration can leave, though if they wish. Just because they occupy a position for a short while does not make them owners of this place. Union and management is the name of the game for every industry and every collective agreement. It is very strange that students and even UNB support staff only see faculty as fighting for money, and forget altogether that AUNBT is about “principle” and challenging the status quo for the betterment of UNB’s service to society and students. Incidentally, faculty members have never failed to support their students and stand by the support staff in a non-selfish, non-greedy way!!!

    • Jayne
      January 16, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      I support them wanted to stay here, I support them getting an increase, and I support that they want to get some better working conditions but I don’t support them thinking that unless they have the exact same (or better) then other universities then they aren’t respected. Respect doesn’t come from money or bonuses that comes from a job. Students stand by professors that want to do what’s best for them, it isn’t credentials and pay that make someone respected, that’s just paperwork. It’s what you do with your position that earns you respect.
      Bashing students and support staff because you don’t feel they are supporting you doesn’t help your case since it’s support staff that does all that administrative work professors feel they shouldn’t have to do. Support staff are the ones here for students right now, trying to help them understand all this. Where do you think we go when we need answers.

  4. kitabet
    January 15, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Johnny,
    I see that you and also many undergrads tend to look at profs as a teacher and forget these full-time professors had a PhD. Our profs in the school are not only teaching courses. Teaching is very small part of their job, but probably the most rewarding one.
    They are also doing researches and generally supervise more than 3 grad student (an average prof, it could go up to 10 easily) at the same time who are constantly produce results, papers, chapters to be reviewed. They are also working as an advisers, thesis exam committee members inside and outside of UNB, supervisory committee members, chairs and so on. They are reviewing papers for academic journals (for free just for their and institute reputation), working as an editor in these journals, writing columns, assist some national and/or international research projects other than their own.

    I will continue with the same way as you do, I will explain my own experiences. As a PhD student, I am very well aware of the sacrifices it has to be made to accomplish this degree. I have students, who got offers from Alberta with +100K salaries right after their graduation. I approached one of them who is very smart and good academic standing and asked him, why he does not continue his degree and consider to being a professor one day. He told he does not want to spend years earning so little (a phd student is getting around 19K a year at UNB from NSERC funds and paying the tuition from this fund) and asked me how much money I can get after the graduation. The fact is finding a full-time position after graduations almost impossible nowadays. Most recent graduates can only find adjunct positions (contract based). Even if I get a tenure-track job right after the graduation, I have to work at least 10 more years to be able to earn the money you and other undergrads have been talking about (+100K) . I would be in my mid-40s when that time comes if I am very very lucky. So, my student asked me “the” question: “if I am going to earn the same money right now, why bother?”
    Yes, why bother?

    There are 3 main questions, you need to ask yourself before jumping into very shallow conclusion:
    1) Some of our profs got PhD degrees from ivy league universities, MIT, and very highly-respected European schools such as Delft, ETH etc. Do you really believe anyone would like to work under 100K after holding a phd from these institutes?
    2) How can you compare a person with that much education with average NB worker?
    3) We have many profs coming from foreign countries. Canadians do not tend to follow higher education and in order to establish a department with broader research experts, you need people from outside of your bubble. How can you convince them to stay in Fredericton? With your lovely winters, amazing social life, high air fares? Sorry, but you need to pay a lot to attract high quality people here.

    I know a prof at UNB who thought/worked in very well known ivy league school before. I don’t consider he is here because “he loves students”. Sorry, but academic life is no different than a professional life. Ugly truth: he came here just because of the better offer (which means money). He will attract better grad student and that will lead more papers published in more respected journals. School will make a pr from this accomplishments and attract more undergrads. It is a win win situation.

    • Johnny student
      January 15, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      You do realize that your 19k “ow so poor grad students get” is what families live on in NB that are working full time? Sometimes those people even have degrees but due to circumstances have to take what’s available.

      My problem is just how out of touch people that make good money are with the realities of society.

      Just because ones educated and spends years in school does not mean that they sutomatically get nor deserve a huge salary out of whack with the community they live in.

      I know profs and grad students think they deserve the most money because they spend the most time in school, but there’s no such law or ethical requirement in society, nor should there be. Being a prof or grad student is a choice not forced on anyone. Like any job it comes with limitations.

      • kitabet
        January 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

        So, you are whining about a book purchase and trying to joke with people who are living with 19K and paying the tuition, health insurance and all the expenses from that that money? (And yes, we practically and legally fall into low income category in Canada).

        So, if you are believing that the education does not offer you a bright future with higher standards, why are you at the university? Why are you pursuing a degree? Don’t tell me it is just because you want to learn more. As far as I understand, you only “spend” time in the school. By the way your choice of wording explains a lot about you and your misconception about the university.

        I have never mentioned that the high education makes you automatically high income person. None of the profs automatically hired right away from the grad school with high paychecks. I have devoted a paragraph to explain how it is already really difficult to find a full-time position and how competitive it is. Tenure-track positions are not paid that much (not even close to 100K). I also mentioned that they have to be eligible to get the tenure position first which takes years in general. They are earning and deserving that money after they prove themselves in academia.

        However, you only would like to hear and get what you want to hear and still consider these people just a teacher. It is very naive to consider every PhD graduate is hired by UNB admin, get an offer automatically 100K a year. It is also a bit shallow to overlook how much money the university makes over the professors’ reputation,connections, projects and patents.

        Yes, getting a degree and/or pursue career in academia is a life choice, but it is not a life choice unending sacrifices.

        We all go to schools, because we know the positions that we can earn good money comes with the educations. Not everyone turns out to be a programming genius without a computer science degree.You and all undergrads are going to school because you would to work for better companies, in better positions and earn above the average salaries.

        It is also very annoying how much time we spend talking on the money. The union also addresses other problems. Not enough academic staff is one of them and actually undergrads should work on that issue and try to negotiate with the university admin instead of complaining about a book prices and how greedy their profs are.

      • BALONEY
        January 15, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

        This is baloney, my friend. Families in NB do not live on 19 grand. Go to the following site to see what families make

        http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil108a-eng.htm

        You will find that the median family income in NB is 63,900 bucks. This means 50% of families make more than that figure.

        Hats off to any grad student who accepts to live with low income to get educated and be ready to join the mush less than 1% of highly educated people in Canada who are ready to change the world for the better.

      • Johnny student
        January 16, 2014 at 1:33 am #

        I took a break from work, decided to get a degree. Lined up a job that had a requirement for a degree but the job has no connection to the degree,

        So yes, I did it because I wanted to, did I learn some things? Yes. Did i learn more out in the real world and workforce for ten years? Yes. Trust me, the profs and instructors I had all heard about it when I disagreed with easy marks, allowing students to combine test scores when one is bad, lackof marking and solutions. I was there to learn. Unfortunately, while that happened some, more often than not the place is a mill pumping people through.

        And that to me is NOT worth 100k salaries,

        Yes, I did it because I wanted to, not becuase I had to. I could have comfortably stayed where I was for the rest of my life. I wanted new challenges. So I thought hey, go get a degree, learn more about those hobbies and interests you have. Along the line, knowing I needed work,I lined up a job, not a great paying job, but a good job, a helping job. I was disappointed the degree didn’t teach me some of the things I really wanted to know, it should have, they were basic stuff. But that stuff was left to learn on the job.

        As for the book and complaining about the digital time running out. It’s not that i want the money, it’s a principle thing. My scholarships covered my university costs. Doesn’t mean I should have to pay more due to others actions.

        I’m not opposed to FT making a good salary, the disagreement is on what is considered good. And even a base pay of 60k is good.

        Now I’ll shut up and go find a way to finish my last term on time somewhere and move on to my eating 38k charity management job and be grateful I even make that, and my family and kids will have all we really need. Each other and some form of roof over our heads, more than many NBers can say.

  5. Johnny student
    January 14, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    As yes, typical.. Blame everyone else but themselves for the position they put others in.

    I’d have much more respect for the Profs if they’d admit the hardship this is causing students and actually do something with that 100k plus salary to help students out during the hardship they have caused. Funny how they can set aside 700 bucks a week to help themselves out, but not a cent set aside for those affected by their strike.

  6. Johnny student
    January 13, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    I bought digital copies of all my textbooks. All those have time limits on them. When the term gets extended, who’s going to pay again for my textbooks so that I can study? Stupid me beng in the fifty percent of students that actually buy a textbook. Looks like I lose for that.

    Ow right, forgot, it’s just all another sacrifice I am supposed to make for the betterment of the Profs.

    Good things is my last term. Even have the job lined up. Spent the day talking ith the future employer about how to finish the degree. My job has nothing to do with my degree,other than the fact it requires a degree to get it. I’m just after my piece of paper, doesn’t matter where it’s from.

    • Anonymous
      January 14, 2014 at 12:57 am #

      It isn’t the professors’ union that came up with the idea of the brilliant rip-off scheme that is digital textbooks, so you can’t entirely blame them.
      If the campus bookstore was still selling digital texts to students, all while knowing a strike was imminent, then they need to offering students a refund, ASAP. That’s just bad business.

    • Grateful Student
      January 14, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      Sorry to hear about your financial woes “Johnny”… Did you ever stop to consider that this strike is about more than increased wages? Perhaps you might understand competition? I came to UNB for my program’s reputation – they are the best at what they do. If UNB doesn’t offer competitive wages in the future, the school will continually lose out on possible employment of the best and brightest professors. The status of the school will decline more and more due to the fact that administration only desire profits and people like you only “want [their] piece of paper, doesn’t matter where its from.”

      Also, they’ve been discussing a strike for many months now, perhaps you should have been a bit hesitant to purchase a rented digital textbook?? Its easy to be mislead by the administration’s propaganda that AUNBT our the “bad guys” here. As UNB students, I believe we’re all smart enough to forgo emotional response in favor of logic. Perhaps if you “sacrifice… for the betterment of the Profs” during this strike, your children may still have a shot at attending an excellent university – something you seem to be completely ungrateful of…

      I urge all students to embrace the stance of their professors. Their salaries might seem large to some, but remember that they have all sacrificed the opportunity to pursue much larger salaries elsewhere in order to be of service to us.

      • Johnny student
        January 14, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

        I did as my profs firmly dictated be done, both verbally iand in their syllabus — , bought the textbook.

        My children like I will want a place to learn, UNB provides that just fine. What it doesn’t need is overpaid pretentious research profs.

        The best instructors I had at UNB. All outside private sector contractors. They taught the best. They covered more material than profs, and they marked harder and fairer. They also corrected assignments/papers providing solutions, something rarely done by full time profs.

        My so called piece of paper was a degree that spanned three faculties and landed me on the deans list consistently, while I called it just apiece of paper that in no way reflects my efforts towards it.

      • Jayne
        January 15, 2014 at 10:01 am #

        If they have had better opportunities elsewhere and chose to stay here that is their choice. Also, UNB is competitive in salary. There are only 5 of the 14 universities that are at that 20% more mark that the union keeps ranting about and if UNB was to give them exactly what they are asking for they would be at the very top of that list, what makes them think they should be? The top paid universities come from wealthier provinces and have higher costs of living. What has been offered is very competitive and they should be happy to get that. It’s a solid offer. It’s the union that isn’t willing to negotiate.

      • Johnny student
        January 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

        It will look really bad for the union when they turned down 9.5 percent and settle for 12.5% and two months or more of lost school for a whole THREE percent more than offered.