President's Message

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.

The Fall has been very busy for your ASPA office staff and the executive with a number of grievances heard or filed, an arbitration hearing, the start of bargaining for a new collective agreement, and unfortunately dealing with a number of layoffs of our members. The employer has advised ASPA more than once that they are dealing with a significant financial challenge and see bigger financial challenges ahead so we are hearing of many units looking at how they can reduce their costs based on what they are being told will be their budget reductions over the next three years. If the rumors are true, it could be significant. This, of course, often leads to staffing reductions and we seem to be seeing some of this already. Layoffs are not easy for anyone to deal with but ASPA is here to support our members as much as we can and to ensure that they receive all the benefits and considerations we have bargained for in our collective agreement. We cannot stop the employer from closing units or reorganizing things that cause layoffs but we can represent our members so that they are treated respectfully and with dignity in very difficult circumstances. I want to take this opportunity to also thank Darcy and those members of the executive who attend these meetings and provide support to our members as it can be a thankless job.

Where collective bargaining is forbidden, freedom is lost”
-Ronald Reagan

As I mentioned in my last update our executive assistant Annetta Gellner officially retired as of October 31, 2019. In recognition of Annetta’s long and committed service to ASPA the ASPA Executive approved the renaming of the ASPA Bursary to the “Annetta Gellner ASPA Bursary” and this is effective immediately. We have relayed this news to Annetta, she is thrilled and appreciative to have this honour.

We have hired Angeline Hainstock as our new administrative assistant to fill the position Annetta vacated. Angeline started with us on October 7, 2019 so please feel free to stop by the ASPA office and welcome her. The position has been revamped somewhat and is now a full time Monday to Friday position. We are looking to provide more assistance to Darcy in scheduling meetings and some other administrative duties. As well as Angeline will be providing more administrative support to some of the very active ASPA committees which hold multiple events and thus take some of the administrative load off the volunteers on these committees.

At the September 2019 executive meeting Dawn Giesbrecht was acclaimed as a Vice President to replace Joanie Crandall, who left the university in July. Dawn has filled this position previously and is also a former President.

ASPA will be hosting a pizza social in November so look for the invite in your inbox very soon. I hope to see a large contingent of ASPA members at this event.

I wish all of you happy and restful holiday season!

Curt Larson, ASPA President curt@aspasask.ca