APUO Makes History!

Today, during two marathon length meetings (Board of Directors and General Assembly), the APUO made history by presenting its bargaining positions to its membership. There was standing room only in Desmarais 12102 for at least part of the General Assembly. I’m inspired that so many APUO members were interested in participating in this act of deliberative democracy. At least 60% of librarian members took part in the discussions which covered our broad bargaining themes as well as positions related to items identified by members as issues in the workplace.

Today is an inspired day. There is no better union than one that works together to make decisions. Not all discussions were easy and few votes issues were unanimously supported. But that’s great – members had the opportunity to hear what we’ve spent 3,000 hours working on. Yes, 3,000 hours of collective work has gone into developing these positions. They heard, they voted, we’re ready to bargain for you.

APUO roundup for February

APUO librarians take note:

– The General Assembly is on Feb. 14th on the 12th floor of Desmarais. Everyone come and vote on the proposals that the Collective Bargaining Committee prepared for negotiations.

– APUO’s first even curling event is on Feb. 17th at the Royal Navy Curling Club, 3:00 – 5:30. Free for APUO members, including parking, pizza and instruction for beginners.

– Negotiations are beginning at the end of this month. Stay informed about negotiations!


Our colleague, AUL at McMaster University (yes, McMaster again) is being sued for $3 million for criticizing Edward Mellen Press. Read about it.


StFX Association of University Teachers take to the picket lines in legal strike action

Good luck and support to our colleagues at St. Francis Xavier who are on strike as of this morning.

Antigonish, January 28, 2013

The StFX Association of University Teachers (AUT) began legal strike action today after eight months of talks with the University Administration yielded no settlement.

“High quality education for students at StFX is our priority,” said Peter McInnis, president of the StFX AUT. “Although we regret the impact of the labour disruption on students, by exercising our democratic right to strike, the Association hopes to avoid the further erosion of the quality of education at StFX in the long-term, and to ensure a fair and equitable settlement for our diverse membership.”

The Association represents over 400 members in eight different employee groups engaged in teaching and research at StFX. Over one-third are vulnerable due to precarious, limited-term contracts with limited or no benefits. Dispelling the argument that its members all make high salaries, the AUT reports that members who fall within this vulnerable group make on average $25,000 per year, receive no health benefits, and are only employed on eight month contracts. “We cannot accept the broad disparities the Administration is trying to impose on us that would compromise the academic mission of this institution by undermining job security for academic staff,” said McInnis.

The AUT’s proposal hoped to rectify this disparity by asking for reasonable salary increases, on par with other regional and national settlements for academic staff, as well as modest improvements to health benefits, pensions, and the provision of professional development funds, a standard benefit for academic staff across the country. The Association also asked for modest contract length extensions for employee groups on less than full year contracts. However, the administration’s offer to date is below recent Atlantic university settlements and well below the cost-of-living.

The Administration has also ignored creative solutions from the union which would cover the cost of the union’s demands.

The AUT will remain on strike until the Administration accepts its invitation to return to the negotiating table. “The Association remains committed to achieving a fair and equitable settlement at the bargaining table,” McInnis said.
Details of the AUT position and bargaining updates are available at http://www.stfxaut.ca.

Mobilization and Negotiations Unit Meetings

Dear Colleagues,

The APUO will begin bargaining with the University of Ottawa in the last half of February. There will be a General Assembly (GA) at the beginning of February to announce the bargaining priorities for the association. It is very important that you attend the GA and vote on the bargaining positions.

Before this happens, I would like to personally meet with every APUO librarian member if possible. I am going to arrange visits to each of the libraries and units at the University of Ottawa. The reason is to update you vis a vis the activities of the Strike & Mobilization committee, to explain the bargaining positions concerning librarians, and to invite you to a few social events that the APUO will be holding in the coming weeks.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all in the coming weeks!

Jennifer Dekker

What are your priorities for collective bargaining?

Although APUO sent out a survey last week to identify member priorities, your APUO representatives are busy crafting a survey that is specific to librarian concerns. Please help your collective bargaining committee and negotiating team by clearly identifying your priorities for bargaining. The link to the online survey will be emailed to members shortly.

Is the Future of Academic Status at the University of Toronto Being Questioned?

St. Mike’s administrators have offered monetary remuneration on the condition that faculty and librarians at the college give up academic status, their tenure and permanent status in their first negotiations to secure a collective agreement. We have seen academic status threatened south of the border now we are seeing it at one of the University of Toronto’s affiliated colleges. As St. Mike’s college is a member of the University’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences, even though they have a semi-autonomous status, this has raised many questions in the community. Tenure ensures academic freedom which is essential to an atmosphere conducive to the free search for truth and the attainment of excellence in the University. On Oct. 8, less than a week, faculty and librarians will be in a lockout or strike situation simply because they will not be bought and give up their belief that tenure and permanent status is a core component of teaching and research at a publicly-funded, academic institution. We urge the community to become informed and realize that what is happening at St. Mike’s could just as easily happen in another sector of our community. We can say it doesn’t involve us, close eyes and forget it is happening – but can we really do that? Are these not the values we uphold as academic librarians?