I am writing to you today, as the AASUA’s Treasurer and the Chair of the ad-hoc committee that recommended the strike fund proposal you are currently considering, to encourage you to support it.
The proposal you are currently voting on was recommended by an ad-hoc committee made up of the AASUA Finance Committee and three other members elected from Council, and then presented to an AASUA general membership meeting in May. It was at that meeting that the membership voted overwhelmingly to put the proposal forward for a ratification vote by the full membership. That is the vote that is happening now.
As you are no doubt aware, last year the Alberta government changed the legislation governing labour relations for post-secondary institutions and we now find ourselves operating under the strike/lock-out provisions of the Alberta Labour Relations Code. What this means is that in our next round of bargaining, which will kick off in March, we will not have access to compulsory binding arbitration as we have in the past. Instead the employer will have the ability to lock us out and we will have the ability to strike should we reach an impasse in bargaining.
Going into bargaining under those circumstances without a strike fund, or access to one, would seriously hamper our bargaining team’s ability to secure a strong contract for us. The employer knows that members without access to pay during a strike/lock-out and an Association without the funds to cover operational expenses will NEVER vote to go on strike, and they could use the threat of a lock-out to force concessions on us that we would not otherwise be willing to accept.
Having a solid strike fund forces the employer to bargain productively with us and actually REDUCES the likelihood of us being locked out or seeking to go on strike. It levels the playing field at bargaining. This is why every major university in Alberta has responded to changed labour relations regime by doing two things: subscribing to the CAUT Defense Fund, and beginning to build a local strike fund.
Because all AASUA members benefit from the leverage that a strike/lock-out fund provides us at bargaining, it is only fair that all members pay into the fund on the same basis. Even those members who may be eventually be deemed as “essential” and thus unable to strike will benefit from the stronger compensation and language that having a fund will enable us to garner, so they too will pay into the fund if it is approved.
Increasing our current dues by 1.5 mils (0.15% of salary) will mean no more than an extra $23 a month for anybody on campus, and will actually mean significantly less than that for most of us (as per the tables below). That is a small price to pay for increased bargaining leverage and the knowledge that our members will be able to maintain some income and have their benefits covered in the case of a lock-out or strike.
It is also worth pointing out that even with the proposed increase to our dues, AASUA will still have the lowest dues among the country’s major associations (those with over 1,000 members) save for UBC and U of T, neither of which bargain under strike/lock-out provisions.
All of these rationales and numbers are broken down in more detail in the video that the Association put together explaining the proposal which you can view here.
It is for all of these reasons that I urge you to vote in favour of the strike fund proposal before you. It is for the collective good of our members, the Association, and all of us individually.
Should you have any questions or concerns about the proposal, please feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have not received your electronic ballot, or are having trouble using it, please contact the AASUA office at email@example.com.
Here are the estimated cost calculations of the proposed increase:
|Rank/Classification||Average Salary by Rank*||Cost of 1.5 mil increase / year||Cost of 1.5 mil increase / month|
| || || || |
|LIBRARIAN (no ranks)||111,659||167.49||13.96|
|FSO (no ranks)||118,068||177.10||14.76|
|APO (no ranks)||114,826||172.24||14.35|
*average salaries based on most recently available data from Administration.
CAST SOTS TRAS
|Cost of 1.5 mil|
increase / year*
|Cost of 1.5 mil increase/month*|
| || |
*CAST, SOTS and TRAS pay dues as a mil rate times each individual salary.