VIU strike continues

Weekend talks breakdown, no further bargaining scheduled


Vancouver Island University faculty are still on strike after a resumption of talks on Saturday failed to produce an agreement. Both sides had initially been optimistic about returning to the table, in part because the VIU Faculty Association had modified its bargaining position to remove demands for a “no-layoffs” clause. According to a VIUFA statement issued after negotiations had stalled, the union is now requesting that if the university is contemplating layoffs, both sides should examine alternative ways to reduce costs, and if program delivery is impacted by layoffs, sufficient notice “must be given such that no student is materially affected by the cuts.” The two sides had failed to reach a compromise and no further talks are scheduled. Faculty have been on strike since March 10.

Photo: By Sherry Wota, courtesy of the Navigator

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VIU strike continues

  1. ‘if program delivery is impacted by layoffs, sufficient notice “must be given such that no student is materially affected by the cuts” ‘

    That is certainly a utopian ideal, but is is realistic. Surely in a time of tight finances the university has a responsibility to serve the constituents in as equitable a manner as possible and provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

    Is that good being served if a major in XXX is maintained for an extra year or two for a handful of students when those resources could be providing extra sections of in-demand courses and stopping hundreds of students from being stranded on wait lists? Granted, cancelling a program should never be taken lightly but sometimes the senate and administration must make those hard choices.

  2. By ensuring that people in their third year might graduate with their program intact without having to scramble to find different scholarly accomodations is a good thing that we should be fighting for. If they cut the Sociology program like they had been planning to until President Ralph Nilson conveniently forgot that plan when talking to students last Tuesday.

    I would want as much notice as possible if my program were to be cut. Less than a year is insane to attempt to move your job, home and life especially if you have settled down roots in Nanaimo expecting to be able to finish your degree here.

  3. Problem is guys, that you are too proud to blink. The prophecy that VIUFA has been sprouting has now become a reality. But not for VIUFA members. Your brothers and sisters in the BCGEU who are not crossing the picket lines in blind support of your irresponsible strike, now find themselves being laid off because the ESL program is being cancelled. Other students are abandoning their year. The damage that you have precipitated will take years of goodwill to build back up. Give up now, while we still have a job to go back to. Hold your heads up high today, you have made your points. Now let’s get back to work.

  4. Amiee: I agree completely, the students should always be given the utmost consideration before any program is cancelled. On the other hand there may come a time where after all due consideration the University can no longer justify carrying on with a program with low enrolment. If they allowed themselves to be shackled to the language the VIUFA proposes there could be negative consequences for far more students than the ones the clause purports to protect.

    With regard to the cancelled Sociology program I am a bit confused. The BC University Act requires the board to seek advice from the Senate before a program can be cancelled. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that Senate had been asked to comment on the move. I suspect this may indicate that it was more of a “budget planning talking point” that got loose than a firm proposal to cancel the program. In any case I am glad to hear it is no longer on the table, it would a shame to cancel a popular program when I’m sure there are some with very marginal enrolment that ought to be dealt with first.

    I find myself quite distressed with the idea that the faculty association would distribute a proposal that was still on the bargaining table to such a wide audience. By doing so, especially with something as unsupportable as this “no student left behind” idea they have publicly drawn a line in the sand that makes it difficult to withdraw from during the natural give and take that is part of bargaining in good faith. I would not expect professional negotiators to pull such a stunt, perhaps theirs was asleep at the switch?

  5. I concur with “Worried” on what we should expect from professional negotiators.

    The delegates of the VIFAU and the university administration have shown no professionalism whatever, not even competent amateurism. Both sides are abject failures with a resounding F.

    An effective negotiator will go to the table already formulating the stages of compromise that the inept will only realize after inflicting irreparable harm and inducing a lasting alienation amongst their associates.

    I, for one, expected more from those appointed to teach the power of communication and problem solving within out student body

  6. Students please remember that it was the VIUFA comrades that decided your fate and chose to use YOU for leverage for THEIR own gain. And the administration has offered a one year roll over of their existing contract to allow time to work through the issues. Why support them!? Just like you shouldn’t beleive everything you read, you should question what these people are telling you as well and learn to get the facts vs. the biased opinion of the union.

    I have been in the community and close to the college for 20 years and know that the faculty association has held the institution hostage for far too long. They don’t seem to understand that they are not running the ship, they are not captain, they are the workers on board. With a new captain and team at the helm, this is hard to digest for some of the real radicals on the bargaining team that are good at spewing rhetoric to get faculty on side. Faculty on the picket line – some advice- your comrades are steering you into an iceberg and you are days away from taking a long “unpaid” summer vacation. Think about it… the leverage you had has run out! You made your point, you have cost everyone dearly with your decision, now get back to work.

    Laughed at the Youtube videos with faculty saying why they are on strike = like puppets repeating what they have been told… so much for free thinkers in higher education!

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