Fall will soon be upon us and I hope all of you have had a chance over the summer to take some time away from work to reconnect with family and friends and take a break before we are inundated with the work that comes with a new academic term and all of the students returning to classes. I know the two weeks I spent away in August already seem like a long time ago but it was great to just disconnect (as much as you can these days) and focus on something other than work. It is important that all of us remember to use the vacation benefits we have in our collective agreement as it allows us to recharge and maintain our physical and mental health. This is not only benefit to ourselves and our families, but also benefits our employer as we come back from vacations recharged and more productive.
September will be a very busy month for ASPA and our Member Services Officer Darcy. Almost every week in September there is either an arbitration or Labour Relations Board hearing scheduled. I want to make sure all our members know about the hard behind the scenes work of Darcy and the executive members involved in these issues to ensure all members receive fair representation in any dealings they have with our employer. Darcy spends many hours on each case that comes to the ASPA office to ensure we represent each member to the best of our ability. There are many difficult conversations between Darcy, our members and human resources. I very much appreciate the work that she does every day.
In late June our long time (20 + years) executive assistant Annetta Gellner advised us that she will be retiring in the near future. Unfortunately just after advising us of her plans to retire she faced some health challenges which have meant she has not been able to be at work regularly since the beginning of July. We all wish Annetta the best as she faces these challenges and hope things work out for the best. In addition I want to acknowledge Annetta’s long service to ASPA and to all of the presidents she has assisted in fulfilling their roles. Without her knowledge of how ASPA works and its history, I don’t think any of us that have taken on the president’s role would have been successful. For anyone wishing to send Annetta a message of support or gratitude, send it to email@example.com and I will make sure she receives this.
Annetta’s departure will leave a large hole in our office but the executive has been hard at work over the summer determining what we require as a union going forward and into the future as we grow and evolve. We have taken this opportunity to look at where we are now and where we see things going over the next 3 to 5 years and have developed a new administrative assistant position that is now being advertised on the U of S Career Centre and Indeed.ca.
Joanie Crandall also left the ASPA executive at the end of July when she accepted a teaching position in Nunavut. We want to thank Joanie for her service to ASPA as president and vice-president and wish her all the best in her new position. As per the ASPA constitution the executive can appoint an interim executive member to fill this vacancy until the next AGM in April 2020 at which time the position will be filled by election. After contacting people who ran for the executive last April the executive has appointed Chris O’Grady to fill this position until April 30, 2020. We want to welcome Chris to the executive and are looking forward to working with him.
ASPA is once again participating in the annual all unions pancake breakfast in the bowl on Thursday September 5, 2019 from 0730 – 1000. I want to thank all the members who have volunteered to help at the event and Andrea Smida for taking the ASPA lead on the organizing committee. I hope many of will be able to attend as it is a great time to meet fellow ASPA members, the ASPA executive and other fellow union members that work on campus.
On behalf of the ASPA executive have a great fall term and if you have any questions about ASPA, your rights under the agreement, or have any issues at work that you need help with please contact the ASPA office or any member of the executive.
Curt Larson, ASPA President firstname.lastname@example.org