We are in the midst of the University’s summer slowdown with many of us away on holidays or conferences, and with fewer students on campus than during the fall and winter months, many of us succumb to the temptation to dally over lunch or coffee and enjoy the sun. I have spent the time since taking the AASUA President office on July 1 both conferencing and catching up with all things AASUA, and have a few matters with which to share with members (see below), particularly AASUA finances. Many members have indicated to me that they are treating AASUA communications as spam, so I will limit email communications to information that is critical to our members. For those members who cannot get enough information about what the AASUA is doing, I am in the process of setting up a President’s blog so that those members who want more information will be able to access it.
I look forward to being your President for another year. Please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or through the AASUA office at 780-492-5321.
Heather L. Bruce, AASUA President
In essence, within the past year we have lost revenue and gained expenses totaling about $490,000 in our budget.
Following the last round of bargaining, on June 30, 2016, the AASUA received a letter that the provision of approximately $110,000 per year to subsidize the rent of the AASUA office at 1901 College Plaza would end August 31, 2017. In addition, gaining union status has necessitated that the University of Alberta has taken the position that it must end other historical subsidies to the AASUA to be compliant with Section 148(1)(b) of the Alberta Labour Relations Code where “no employer or employer’s organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall… contribute financial or other support to a trade union”. On June 28, 2017, the AASUA received a letter from the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Steven Dew indicating that the AASUA would no longer be receiving the Employment Insurance (EI) Rebate provided to the university as part of a federally-governed program where a rebate is provided to employers that provide a short-term disability program. This amounted to an approximately $240,000 reduction in the AASUA budget. The Provost also removed the provision of teaching/research release for AASUA Officers (President, Vice-President and Treasurer) of up to $100,000, necessitating that the AASUA now include this expenditure in its budget. AASUA revenue has been further reduced as of July 1, 2017, by the de-designation of the Deans, and will be further reduced by the de-designation of other administrative staff this fall, for a total reduction of about $40,000.
The budget passed by the 2016-2017 AASUA Council appears to be balanced because the removal of EI Rebate revenue was not factored into the budget as Council assumed that grieving Central Administration for the return of those monies would be successful. When the loss of the EI Rebate is factored into the budget, the AASUA is anticipating a loss of about $232,000 in 2017-2018.
Further, as reported at the General Membership Meeting held on May 2, 2017, should the upcoming ratification in the fall term for the creation of a strike fund be successful, the AASUA will be required to pay CAUT the initiation fee of approximately $123,000 to join the CAUT’s Defense Fund. This will be an anticipated expense to our budget.
I have asked the Executive Director to investigate mitigating our lease expenses with our present landlord. I understand that we had the opportunity to reduce our rent by approximately $56,000 annually by relocating to another space with cost neutral leasehold improvements in College Plaza in 2016-2017, but the move was not approved by the Officers. I am committed to working with AASUA Treasurer Ricardo Acuna, and AASUA Executive Director Brygeda Renke to reduce our expenses and prevent financial loss in 2017-2018.
Executive will be appointing up to seven members to serve on the “Members’ Advisory Committee” (MAC). Please see the new policies regarding how MAC members are appointed.
More information about the role of MAC is set out in the “Membership Representation Policy”.
If you are interested in serving on this committee please contact the Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council at its meeting of June 29, 2017 approved a new policy for the selection of the negotiating team for the next round of bargaining for this 2017-2018 year. This is a formal call to members for their expressions of interest in serving on the negotiation team.
If you wish to be considered for service on the negotiating team, please supply a two-part statement to the AASUA President at email@example.com of about 500 words which shall include a biographical statement and a vision statement for their service in the role of negotiating team member.