ASPA Advocate

The case for a 4-day workweek

Written by Alexia Fernandez Campbell

Americans once worked 100 hours a week, six days in a row. Then, in 1940, came the five-day workweek.

Now labor unions are making the case for even less work: dropping days worked down to four.

That’s one of the changes unions are proposing as part of their vision for the future of work, which is outlined in a report to be released Friday by the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the US. (Disclosure: I am a member of the Writers Guild of America East, which is part of the AFL-CIO.) The report, which was shared in advance with Vox, focuses on finding ways to make sure workers can best benefit from automation and other technological changes.

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Bargaining Update

ASPA Bargaining Update

Your ASPA bargaining team met with the employer on November 21 and 22, 2019. This is the second meeting we have had to date and we will be meeting with the employer again on December 19 and 20, 2019. We are still in the early stages of bargaining but it is clear after the first two meetings that we have a lot of work ahead of us before reaching a new collective agreement.

The bargaining team will keep members updated as much as possible on how things are going and when we are meeting with the employer.

Thank you

On behalf of the Bargaining Team

Curtis Larson, ASPA President

UNBC’s Chief Strike Negotiator Talked of Plans to Permanently Close University

Written by Amanda Follett Hosgood, November 20, 2019.  |

In an address to peers last year, a senior administrator involved with the ongoing faculty strike at the University of Northern British Columbia described the challenges of running a university in the north as “pretty scary stuff” and alluded to a 10-year plan to shut down the institution.

“Universities don’t typically die, but there’s always a first,” says Barb Daigle, UNBC’s interim vice-president of finance, people, organizational design and risk, during a presentation called “Leading from the Middle” that she gave at the Canadian Association of University Business Officers conference in Vancouver in June 2018. The talk was recorded and posted online (under “Concurrent Sessions 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m.”).

“We have all these wakeup calls that would indicate UNBC’s in trouble,” she says 27 minutes into the talk. “We were at the beginning of developing the 10-year plan to shut UNBC down, because we had some significant issues that needed to turn around and budget, certainly, was one of them.”

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Women at The Bargaining Table

There will be a screening of the brief yet informative movie, Women at The Bargaining Table. It will be held in Arts 101 at Noon hour with discussion to follow. We hope to see you there!

Organized by USFA

Vacation Purchase Program and Partial Leave Initiative

On November 13, 2019, the employer communicated to ASPA members, in Finance and Resources, that they were offering a Vacation Purchase Program (VPP) and a Partial Leave Initiative (PLI) as a pilot project to all staff within this portfolio.

We felt it was important for ASPA members to know that the Employer did not speak to ASPA in any detail about either the VPP or the PLI.  They mentioned in passing that they were looking at some initiatives back in September, but had no further discussion with us.  The first time ASPA was provided with the details of the VPP and the PLI was on November 12, 2019. Read More

A Briefing Note to the Canadian Labour Movement, Stand! Movie Release

Written by Danny Schur

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is with much gratitude to the labour movement that I announce the Stand! movie musical Canada-wide release at the Cineplex theatres listed below – on Friday, November 29th. The movie, already called the “next Norma Rae”, is the result of a partnership between the labour movement in Canada and the United States, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the movie’s producers.

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Grievance Updates

Written by Darcy Hryn-Bird, ASPA Member Services

Our Member Services Officer, Darcy Hryn-Bird, is currently handling twenty-one (21) active grievances.  Unsure  what a grievance is or how to file one?  For more information go here.grievance 2

Most of the outstanding grievances are related to the employer failing to deduct Association dues from several positions across campus.  ASPA has been raising this issue with the Employer for the last number of years and started to file grievances when it became clear that our message was not being heard.  The grieved positions are currently in the “Research” group and are not in the scope of any bargaining unit.   We believe that these positions are similar to what our members are currently doing.  The reason that ASPA is pursuing these grievances is not to get more dues or increase our membership, but to ensure that employees of the University have been appropriately placed in a bargaining unit. We have made some progress on a few of the grievances in this area, but the movement is slow going.   Read More

Bargaining Update

Dear ASPA Members,

I have several updates for you since my last message. I am happy to report that we have scheduled several days to meet with the employer’s bargaining team before the spring break. In fact, our team met for the first time with the employer’s team on October 31st.

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ASPA Members November Pizza Social!

Come to the November Free Pizza and Pop Social Event!  Register on Eventbrite and bring your ticket to receive your Pizza and Win a great door prize!


Thursday November 21st

11:45am – 1:00pm

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President’s Message

November 2019

We are now into November and it feels more like January.  As I write this, the forecast PB 2019 - Curt and Johnnext week looks more seasonal and I’m hopeful that we all get to enjoy a little more fall weather before we must go into hibernation mode. The holiday season will be here before we know it and even though this is a season to be happy and socialize with family and friends, it can also be a season for more stress and demands on our time. Please remember to take time for yourselves to recharge your batteries every so often and take advantage of the Employee and Family Assistance Program if the need arises. Remember that all ASPA employees have time off between December 25 and January 1, 2019 and you do not need to make up this time for that. Read More