The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is the principal association of Canadian university faculty associations, unionized and non-unionized. (French-speaking faculty associations in Quebec have their own association.) At CAUT’s semi-annual (November) and annual (May) meetings, delegates are briefed on the latest concerns and developments in higher education, nationally and internationally. CAUT has a large staff headquartered at Ottawa.
CAUT’s particular focus is academic freedom in its largest sense. It intervenes financially when local associations face issues of national significance. In the 1950s it took the lead in publicizing the Harry Crowe affair, transforming it into the foundational episode in the development of academic freedom in Canada. More recently, it sponsored the meticulous investigation (led by former AUNBT president Jon Thompson) into the Nancy Olivieri case. CAUT also offers extensive assistance to associations in collective bargaining and grievance arbitration.
Individual UNB faculty members joined the newly-founded CAUT even before AUNBT was formed. Immediately after our own founding (1956) AUNBT allied itself with the national organization and has remained a member ever since. Two AUNBT members (Isreal Unger and Allen Sharp) have served as CAUT president and another (George McAllister) would have become president had not UNB’s Mackay-Strax affair created the possibility that CAUT would be placing UNB under censure.
Recently, CAUT financed the unionization of UNB’s part-time teachers and librarians and provided much advice in that endeavour. It has also helped put into national perspective our resistance to the NB government’s persistently ill-considered higher educational policies.
AUNBT dues to CAUT are about $100,000 per year.
The Association is also a subscriber to the CAUT Defence Fund. In this CAUT-related organization, those members that are unionized have banded together to create a fund that gives financial support to academics when locked out or on strike. Currently the fund stands at $20,000,000. AUNBT’s annual dues are about $40,000.
AUNBT is not yet a member of NUCAUT, the CAUT-related organization of academic unions who want affiliation with the Canadian Labour Congress.