As I’m sure it’s been for all of you, September has been an exceptionally busy month for your TRUFA elected officers. Here are some highlights of activities undertaken on behalf of TRU faculty members.
On September 17th, I presented to the Select Standing Committee of the BC Legislature on Finance and Government Services, whose members make recommendations to the government on budget priorities for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. For the first time since I started submitting on behalf of our faculty, TRU administration, TRUSU and TRUFA worked together to coordinate an appeal to the committee for increased funding to TRU because of our unique mandate under the TRU Act, particularly fulfilling our research and regional education obligations. The primary message was “we need additional funding to support what we’re already doing as an institution.” The committee’s recommendation come out later this fall; last year, much of what TRUFA and other FPSE locals asked for was reflected in the committee’s advice to government. Sadly, the government budget for 2015-2016 did not reflect these recommendations.
On September 18th, TRUFA Executive hosted our 19th annual Welcome Back BBQ for TRU faculty. Brian Bouthillier (ESL) provided the entertainment, approximately 140-150 faculty attended, and we welcomed the new FPSE President, George Davison, and TRU President, Alan Shaver, as special guests.
The week of September 21st was dominated by bargaining dates and, of course, the faculty general meeting held on the evening of September 23rd.
On September 25th, TRUFA chief negotiator, John Turner, and I made a presentation to the Committee of Department Chairs on departmental governance and an update on the Chair release algorithm.
That same day, I attended the TRU Board of Governors meeting, at which Dr. Paul Dagg was elected as the new Board chair and Jim Thompson, the new Vice-Chair. In addition, the Board approved changes to international student tuition, opting for a hybrid tuition model that lowered the rates for international students who take up to 12 credits per year and increased the rate modestly for those taking more.
On September 28th, the TRUFA Communications Committee—Communications Officer, Jack Massalski, Martha Solomon and I—met to discuss communications issue. Later that morning, TRUFA Chief Steward, Bernie Kirkey, and I met with Trades faculty to discuss issues relating to their School.
For three days—September 20th, 30th and October 1st—TRUFA and TRU attended an arbitration hearing related to the Director, Career Services in the Faculty of Law, TRUFA arguing that that position should be in the faculty bargaining unit along with other career services faculty in the Career Education Department. Final arguments for this case will be conducted later this month in Vancouver.
Finally, on October 2nd, the TRUFA Executive met in a special in camera session to discuss bargaining issues.
In order to maintain confidentiality and respect the media blackout regarding bargaining, TRUFA will be posting bargaining updates and bargaining proposal details on the secure section of the trufa.ca website. Instructions on how to navigate the website appear elsewhere in this Newsletter. If you cannot locate the e-mail informing you of your log-in name and password, please notify Marian Griffin (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will be able to supply you with that information.
Tom Friedman, TRUFA President