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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!