ASPA Advocate

rally invite

Rally In The Bowl

The Following is a message from the ASPA negotiating team to it’s members:

Dear Valued ASPA Member,

We want to thank you all very much for taking the time to attend one of the information sessions, reading updates and providing feedback over the last few weeks; the input and guidance you provided the bargaining team was invaluable. You spoke loud and clear with only 9% of attendees at the information sessions showing any support for the current University offer. Throughout your comments there was a common thread about feeling disrespected by the employer and with your continued support we want to change that.

Many members also wanted to know what the other bargaining units thought of the offer presented to ASPA.  We consulted almost every single bargaining unit on campus very recently. The other unions clearly saw the disrespect shining through the offer as well and are ready to show their support for our members. So united we will stand alongside our colleagues from the other bargaining units on campus.  On Monday October 26th at noon we will be holding a public rally in the bowl to welcome the new President and to ask him to send his team back to the table to negotiate with the respect and dignity we deserve. The other bargaining units will be joining and voicing their support in front of the entire campus community and local media. We hope that this rally will bring positive change to the practices of our Human Resource department on campus under the new leadership of President Stoicheff.

We need you to come out to the bowl and bring your colleagues, whether they are ASPA, USFA, CUPE, PSAC or PAIRS and lets send a positive message of change and respect together. We heard you loud and clear and this is your opportunity to make sure the employer hears you too.

ASPA will be providing a free burger lunch for the first 500 attendees. We humbly ask you to spend your lunch hour with us. It is our sincere hope that an overwhelming crowd will bring the University back to the bargaining table not to dictate terms as they have, but rather to take part in a fair and equitable negotiation. We will see you October 26th at 12 noon for lunch in the bowl.

In solidarity,

Your ASPA Executive and Bargaining Team

July President’s Message

president_dawn

Dawn Giesbrecht

“Never a dull moment.” This is how I can best sum up the last two months since I started as ASPA President. By now you should have heard that the U and ASPA have reached an impasse in bargaining. In an effort to keep our members well in- formed, here is a little of what I know.First, I would like to take this time to thank ASPA’s bargaining team. The team is led by Ken Glover and Jim Coller. They are joined by Chloe Corcoran, Paola Chiste, and assisted by Darcy Hryn and Annetta Gellner. They have all worked hard and put in countless hours to put together a package deal that balances the needs of our membership with the requests of the university. As you can imagine, this is no easy feat.I officially joined the bargaining team in late May. While I had been told that it was proving to be a difficult process, I honestly had no idea how challenging. I joined our ASPA team for two days of dis- cussion following the university’s offer to settle that they presented on May 11th. We, as a team, spent a great deal of time deliberating over the points of their offer to massage it into something accept- able to our members. As a result, we drafted our own package deal and presented it to the university on June 9th.
Our next meeting was set for June 12th. In that meeting the uni- versity told ASPA that we stay in our jobs too long. You can imag- ine our shock. I didn’t realize that it was a goal of the university to have us leave our jobs. It has been my understanding that employee retention was a goal of any employer. Even going back to my first job as a teenager, I understood that it is far less expensive to keep an employee than it is to have to hire a new one. That has not changed. There are many articles written on this very topic. If for no other reason than money, it is better to retain an employee than to have to hire a new one.They also came back with a “Best and Final Offer to Settle”. Very little had changed from their previous proposal and next to nothing had been incorporated from ours. It didn’t take us long to see that this was not in the best interest of our members and as a result turned it down. They did ask us to ruminate on it but we could only let it churn around so long before saying no.The cost of living in Saskatoon has gone up 2.5% in the last year alone and our property taxes are set to go up once again. With an offer of 0%, 0% and 2.25%, we are losing ground even with a small signing bonus. The two parties are too far apart in expec- tations and are at an impasse. We are now mandated under The Saskatchewan Employment Act to go to mediation. Both par- ties have requested mediation and we await a response from the Minister of Education, Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.We appreciate the outpouring of support from our members. Keep your comments and questions coming. Any and all feed- back is appreciated.

Lisa Thomaidis

Coach-ThomaidisLisa Thomaidis, the head coach of our University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team, was named the head coach of Team Canada’s Senior National Women’s Team in March of 2013. After leading the Huskies to the their third Canada West Championship last March, Thomaidis traded her Green and White for the national Red and White and spent part of her summer in Ankara Turkey at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

Thomaidis led Team Canada to their best finish since the 1980’s, finishing in 5th place. Thomaidis, who has been on campus at the helm of the huskies for more than 16 years, has become a central figure helping to bring about the dawn of a golden age of basketball in our country.

ASPA’s New Brown Bag Lunch Series

ASPA is proud to announce a new series of events for members. This fall ASPA is launching the Brown Bag lunch series. These lunch-hour sessions are a place for members to come together and learn about different aspects of our collective agreement. Brown Bag events will happen several times a year and will address a wide array of issues that affect you, the member.

ASPA hopes that this special series will provide another avenue for you to raise questions and engage in conversations about the future of ASPA and the privileges that come with our collective agreement.

The first Brown Bag session took place November 26th when current ASPA President Paola Chiste and former President Chloe Corcoran spent time discussing the process of contract negotiations and why we should care. If you want to know more about the Brown Bag series email us at aspa@usask.ca or call Annetta in the ASPA office at 306-966-2471. Also keep an eye on your email for the invitations to the different events as they become available over the next year.

USASK Employee Survey, Minimum Wage and Canada Post in the News

U of S Employee Survey “not about TransformUS”

• A new employee survey asking every University of Saskatchewan worker what they do all day is about improving services, not cutting jobs, a senior administrator says. Star-Phoenix

Why Raise the Minimum Wage? Just Ask Costco

• Ironically, research has consistently shown that businesses that provide wages considered fair by workers experience not only solid returns but active worker participation. Globe and Mail

Court challenge launched against the elimination of door-to-door delivery

• A challenge will be filed in the Federal Court of Canada under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, asking the court to put a stop to Canada Post’s termination of home mail delivery. Canadian Union of Postal Workers

December President’s Message

Paola Christie

Paola Chiste

One of my favourite childrens’ stories is called “Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear” about a woman who is run off her feet with all the chores she must do before the advent of winter when, in an act of final desperation, she throws a teapot over her husband’s head as he has been the one assigning all the tasks. I’m starting to sympathize with  Mary more and more these days (not the husband part fortunately). The list of things I need to get done seems to be growing, despite my best efforts to minimize it.

The recent Service Delivery Survey that apparently many of you have not filled out, has started me thinking about the work I actually do as opposed to the work I am supposed to do, as per my job description. Is what I get done during the day the important tasks or is it the low-lying fruit that I can easily get done between meetings and satisfy my need for a sense of accomplishment?  How many assignments are given to us to fulfill the administrative needs of the University, as opposed to my position accountabilities? When will I find time to plan my projects? Schedule my time? Do research? Manage in a meaningful way? Mentor junior staff?

Is anyone else feeling the same way? If you are, I’d love to hear from you and start a dialogue on what “work” looks like for ASPA members and how well we are managing with all the things that need to get done. What pressures are you feeling? Are you doing what you should be doing? Are you pulled in different directions? Do you have direction? Perhaps there are some solutions that we can come to and make the workplace a better place for ASPA members.

On that note, the holiday season will soon be upon us and the ASPA Executive and Staff would like to wish you a safe, happy, and most importantly, restful holiday.