I would like to thank everyone who has offered support as I transitioned into the role of interim FAUST president. I am slowly getting up to speed on the range of issues we are dealing with and hope to be able to continue advancing our goals over the coming months.
In this regard, as we begin to prepare for the end of the first term – another term of hybrid and online teaching amidst the uncertainty of COVID – I want to take a little time to discuss several of the initiatives your FAUST executive is working on to ensure health, safety, and wellbeing of our members.
First, we have reasserted our interest in being actively involved with STU’s air quality procedures. As we consider our personal options for teaching in the winter semester, your executive continues to seek transparency around the specific measure that STU has taken to ensure air quality standards are maintained on campus. A more detailed overview of what we know and what we continue to seek additional clarity on will be shared with the membership soon.
Second, we are actively involved in securing clear data regarding vaccination rates on campus. In general, vaccination rates in the STU community surpass rates provincially, however, we continue to have some difficulty with the way these data have been shared with the community and have requested more clarity. This information, too, will be shared with the members in a more fulsome way soon.
Finally, as we look ahead to the Winter and Spring of 2022, we have begun planning for collective bargaining. Effective bargaining requires the most detailed and accurate information possible. To achieve this, we have hired Brad Votour as our FAUST Assistant to replace Tracey O’Brien our former FAUST Office Assistant. A portion of Brad’s time will be dedicated to bargaining research and the creation of a new and more substantial bargaining survey. We intend to launch the survey before the end of this term. Additionally, we are re-introducing meetings between the Chief Negotiator and team, and individual departments in the Winter 2022 semester. It is hoped that this will allow the negotiating team to develop a more comprehensive understanding of both individual and departmental issues to bring to the bargaining table.
Mike Fleming, Interim President, FAUST
As you may be aware, FAUST President Gül Çalışkan is on leave until Winter 2022. The FAUST President’s leave has created a vacancy on the Executive, and thus the Executive has elected a substitute pro tem as per Article 7.01.3. We are happy to announce that Katherine (Katie) Thorsteinson (English Language and Literature) is currently acting as our substitute Executive member for the fall semester.
Jean Sauvageau (Criminology and Criminal Justice), who is a Past President of FNBFA, has also stepped up as a pro tem replacement for Dennis Desroches .
Please join us in welcoming Katie and Jean to the Executive.
Environmental Concerns Committee, Written Synopsis of report to Oct. 1, 2021 Faust GMM
By Matt Robinson, Environmental Concerns committee member
On May 3, 2021, Janice Harvey and I met with VP Finance Lily Fraser and HR Director Jason Scarbro and presented them with the FAUST motions from the April 13, 2021 AGM. This meeting was on the advice of a former faculty representative on STU’s Pension Advisory Committee (PAC).
On Sept. 17, 2021, there was a follow-up meeting. Janice and I met a group from Canada Life together with members from PAC.
People present from Canada Life: ·
People Present from STU: Lily Fraser, Susan Sears, Pauline McIntyre, Lauren Eagle, Jason Scarbro
Vathsala Martin presented a new ‘suite’ of Responsible Investing (RI) ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) themed funds. Canada Life seemed somewhat receptive to the priorities in FAUST’s motions: the desire for a report on the addition of fossil fuel free funds and the need for greater transparency regarding the carbon footprint of our existing funds.
For reference purposes, our motions at the April FAUST AGM were:
“Motion 1: That FAUST endorse the initiative to enable pension plan members to divest their portfolios from “fossil fuel companies,” meaning at minimum any funds that hold the publicly traded stocks and/or corporate bonds of companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200. for clarification: The Carbon Underground 200 serves as an exclusionary screen standard for fossil free investor portfolios and asset management products. www.ffisolutions.com [This has currently been updated to: https://fossilfreefunds.org/carbon-underground-200]
Motion 2: That FAUST request that the Pension Advisory Committee direct Canada Life to: prepare a report, whose terms of reference should be developed in consultation with the FAUST Environment Committee, that: a) identifies the degree to which the top 200 fossil fuel companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200 are included in the various pension funds currently offered to faculty (i.e. as % of investment in each fund), and b) proposes a number of fund options that contribute to a sustainable energy transition.
For clarification of (b), some examples of funds that might be included for consideration are:
(i) the BlackRock Global Renewable Power III Fund (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-08/blackrock-raises-4-8-billion-to-invest-in-renewable-power
(ii) ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF (SPXE)
(iii) RBC Vision Fossil Fuel Free Global Equity Fund (RBF430.CF), and
(iv) iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN)”
We are not sure how this will turn out, but we are getting some traction so far. Please stay tuned!
FAUST believes that health & safety concerns have never been more crucial than they are right now.
In that vein, we are working on facilitating a more direct and active relationship with our Part-Time and Full-Time reps on the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee, so that they can act as effective liaisons with us and with the membership.
We will be providing more opportunities for the JOHSC reps to update the members via email, the website, our newsletter, and social media.
Craig Proulx at a rally in downtown Fredericton
Since our last newsletter, Office Assistant Tracey O’Brien has resigned to finish her degree at STU. We thank her for her contributions to the Union and wish her well as she pursues her dreams! FAUST has since hired Brad Votour, a long-serving Part-Time member in the Anthropology Department, as a FAUST Assistant. He will be working for 10 hours/week as part of an 8-month term contract (with the possibility for renewal). Welcome to the FAUST Office Team Brad! The next update will come from Brad himself!
This semester is proving to be a challenging one with so many uncertainties due to COVID-19.
Much of my recent work has been taken up with ensuring that the Employer is maintaining a safe and secure work environment as per Article 4.03.1.
In August we issued a survey to gauge members’ satisfaction with the institution’s health and safety protocols. Since then, we have been following up with the VP Finance and Director of Facilities to seek clarification on concerns raised in the survey.
As co-chair of the United Campus Labour Council, I have also been involved in helping the UNB unions acquire sufficient consultation on these issues with the UNB Administration.
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.