As we get closer to the end of another semester, it is time to reflect on what we have accomplished as well as what lies ahead in 2021–22.
While we are very proud of the Letter of Understanding that we negotiated with the Employer following the arrival of COVID-19, we realize it is now time to revisit it. We have started our work on these revisions at the Joint Committee level. Once we have a more concrete sense of the Academic Plans for 2021–22, we will propose additional appropriate revisions, and we hope by early June to share an updated LOU to guide us in the next Academic year.
We understand that the University is in the process of organizing an Academic Planning Town Hall and is issuing a survey to assess the faculty’s priorities and concerns for 2021–22. Please be assured that FAUST will be monitoring the situation closely. Do attend this town hall and make your questions and concerns heard.
The imposition of workload reductions on our Regular Appointment faculty is of particular concern as we move forward. A layoff of Part-Time faculty probably means that we will be forced to do more with less for the foreseeable future. A recent report by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission suggests that enrollment is stable in the Maritime universities, so at the budget town hall on 24 March, we will be asking pressing questions about the layoffs as well as what the enrollment numbers mean for faculty. We urge as many of you as possible to attend the budget town hall.
FAUST continues to engage in education and advocacy. A FAUST team has been meeting with provincial politicians to make them more aware of the need for support of public universities. Stay tuned for updates on this.
The involvement of faculty in various forms of union activism has been particularly rewarding and encouraging. Members of the ad hoc Environmental Concerns committee are actively working toward fossil fuel divestment in faculty pensions and improving STU’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Shannonbrooke Murphy, Endowed Chair in Human Rights and a member of the Executive, is helping FAUST draft a response to the national campaign initiated by the Academic Alliance Against Antisemitism, Racism, Colonialism & Censorship in Canada. I have been involved with faculty in forming an ad hoc committee on Black History Month, which aims to challenge anti-black racism on campus and to make racialized faculty more visible. Also, please stay tuned for a workshop on anti-black racism work in union activism, to be organized by FNBFA later in April.
Please take care of yourself and stay safe! We really look forward to seeing you at the AGM on April 13.
Gül Çalışkan, President, FAUST
Dennis Desroches teaches literary theory and cultural studies in the Department of English at STU. He is a past president of both FAUST and the Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations. He has also served in several other executive positions in both associations, as well as on many committees. He is looking forward, after a long hiatus from union politics, to re-entering the fray, fomenting dissent, and, in a word, casting off the shackles of our neoliberal oppressors. And free food sometimes.
The FAUST ad hoc Environmental Concerns committee has been busy working on three initiatives:
-to examine clean energy investment alternatives for the faculty pension plan and to bring options on this matter to the AGM for consideration
-to encourage STU to make an institutional commitment to decarbonization by 2050. To promote this objective, they are developing a strategy for FAUST to consider and are making a case for the establishment of a standing Senate committee on Climate Change
-to formulate a strategy to ensure that the STU Environmental Policy is reviewed in 2021, and to push for a credible ongoing review process.
A Union Lobbying Team consisting of FAUST President Gül Çalışkan, FAUST Past President Robin Vose, FNBFA Past President/FAUST member Jean Sauvageau and Professional Officer Bonnie Huskins, has been meeting with provincial politicians to make them more aware of the following issues: --that performance-based funding has been shown in numerous studies to be an inadequate model for the funding of public universities
--that New Brunswick has the lowest number of university graduates per capita in Canada
--and that to ensure pandemic recovery as well as economic growth, the province must involve and invest in post-secondary education.
The team has also presented university faculty as front-line workers in postsecondary education, whose experiences and perspectives deserve to be heard by the provincial government. In that vein, FNBFA is pushing for an opportunity to share faculty concerns with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
The FAUST team has met thus far with David Coon, Jeff Carr, Ryan Cullins, Kris Austin and Dominic Cardy. They will meet in April with Jill Green.
FNBFA has also been active corresponding with the Minister of Finance and Minister of Postsecondary Education, Training and Labour in the context of the provincial budget, urging them to reverse the decades long pattern of under-funding public universities. See the February 8, 2021 letter from FNBFA President, Hector Guy Adégbidi, to Finance Minister, Ernie Steeves and the March 1, 2021 reply from the Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Trevor A. Holder
Lobbying with Minister of Education Dominic Cardy
Hello, I am the new FAUST Office Assistant, Tracey O’Brien!
I have been busy setting up the new office at ECH 215, organizing files, updating the financials, getting familiar with the collective agreements, and learning all about FAUST!
Lately, we have been focused on the lobbying effort in conjunction with the FNBFA regarding funding for public universities. To see updates, you can follow us on Twitter @FAUST_STU
In February I attended a CAUT webinar on grievance handling; chaired a meeting of the United Campus Labour Council; served as a member of the FAUST Lobbying Team attempting to convince provincial politicians to secure more consistent funding for New Brunswick’s public universities (see below in this newsletter); and on 26 February chaired the General Membership Meeting.
Looking forward to seeing you all again for the Annual General Meeting on 13 April.
On Friday 27 March 2009, the FAUST membership passed a motion in support of the creation of a scholarship with the funds deducted from the retroactive lock out/strike pay as per the Arbitration of July 2009. This scholarship is in the amount of $3000 and is offered annually to a student on the basis of academic achievement. The student must also not be in receipt of any other scholarship or bursary.
Since 2009, the scholarship has been awarded to a number of deserving students. The most recent recipient is John Knox, who is studying Psychology and Music. We thought you would enjoy the lovely message he sent us!
The Faculty Association of the University of St. Thomas (FAUST) promotes the welfare and professional interests of the association and its members. It negotiates, obtains, and preserves employment conditions such as salary, financial security, working conditions, and all matters of employer-employee relations for members of the bargaining units. FAUST actively supports its members in attaining fair working conditions and benefits that foster quality teaching and research. FAUST also protects academic freedom, seniority, and tenure.
FAUST is a certified trade union under the Industrial Relations Act of New Brunswick. FAUST has two bargaining units: Full-time (certified in 1976) and part-time (certified in 1985).
Our Professional Officer, Bonnie Huskins, and our Office Assistant, Tracey O'Brien preside over the FAUST office in Edmund Casey (51 Dineen Drive) , Room 215. They can help you with your questions about FAUST and your rights as a member of the bargaining unit. You are also welcome to direct questions to the FAUST President.