VIU ‘Strike Begins Tomorrow’

Still no progress in negotiations


So far there doesn’t seem to be any progress in negotiations between the Vancouver Island University Faculty Association, and the university. VIUFA informed the administration yesterday that it intends to strike. I am still awaiting for VIUFA to return a couple messages, but they posted a release on their website earlier today that carries the headline “Strike Begins Timorrow” (UPDATE: I have now spoken to VIUFA president Dan McDonald, and he confirmedthat the strike will happen “for sure”)

We have come to this position reluctantly (especially since we have been without a contract since April 2010), but with an abiding commitment to our position. We are well aware that money is tight in the public post-secondary sector in BC as the provincial government continues to reduce their share of the costs, forcing tuition fees higher. 1,500 students were caught up in waitlists this year.

In such an environment, we argue, it is even more important to prioritize student access to education since a better-educated community is a recognized stimulus for economic recovery.  As both education and living costs become more expensive, it becomes even more vital that students be able to complete their degrees in a timely manner.  Inadequate numbers of sections and cuts to courses and faculty all impede students’ access to their chosen fields of study.

A message posted to the university’s website is similarly taking the view that a strike is inevitable:

VIU anticipates that strike action will be underway at all of our campuses early Thursday morning, March 10, 2011.

Meanwhile, students  are beginning to panic. According to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, dozens of students rallied against a strike in front of the school’s library. However, despite being worried over their classes being cancelled, students who spoke to the Bulletin were generally supportive of faculty.

“I fully support the teachers, they shouldn’t lay anybody off,” anthropology student Meghan Dalskog said. “It sucks for the faculty, but all in all, it’s the students who get screwed.”

Arts student Tim Balaski was more straightforward in his support. “It’s probably not going to be good in the immediate sense, but I’m for it . . .I’d rather lose some money and have things improve a bit then not take a stand at all,” he said.


VIU ‘Strike Begins Tomorrow’

  1. It’s easy to get caught up in the rights and wrongs of a call to strike but the real issue is that the supposedly intelligent and educated delegates of the VIUFA and university administration have utterly failed in their mandate to negotiate a solution.

    The strike will not last forever, at the end of it there is a solution.

    The choices are: Whether to subject the university community to weeks, possibly months of bitter recrimination, tens of millions of wasted dollars and an alienation that could pervade the campus for years. Or, to immediately replace the inept negotiators on both sides with others who have a basic understanding of conflict resolution and a commitment to solve the impasse.

    Personally, I would love to bang their silly heads together until they come up with that eventual solution right now.

    • From the sounds of it, the VIU administrations was not willing to negotiate on any of the issues brought to the table by the faculty, which is the main reason the mediator stepped out of the issue. It’s not that there are “inept negotiators on either side” but that only one side is willing to negotiate. To be fair to the University, it seems their hands have been tied by the Provincial government in a lot of places. So basically it’s a stalemate – the faculty need to see some positive changes before they’re going to get back on the job but the administration is unable or unwilling to make any accessions.
      As a VIU student I support the VIUFA in this strike. Though I am concerned over the impact to my studies (I am in my final year of a BSc) it is important to stand up for the rights of both teachers and students. VIU is seeing yearly increases both in the number of applications to the University (they’re turning potential students away because there aren’t the resources in place to accommodate them all as is) and in the numbers of students on wait lists – yet they want to cut back both the number of teachers and the number of courses offered. Maybe Christy Clark can kick of her Liberal leadership with some support for education. Hah.

  2. I told them a few years ago that this would happen again and it has. Once again students are the pawns in yet another union organized strike to force employers into signing off on unreasonable and unrealistic requests. No union member has any care for the student. There are all self interested. Cost of living wage increase. How about a raise based on performance and tenure? The big issue amongst the issues is the union demanding a no layoff policy. What the hell?? No layoffs. This is just retarded and typical of union mentality. On more way to cut off a employers ability to get rid of dead weight, reduce labour when enrollment diminishes, or scale back labour to economize when money is tight. Students should have a right to class action lawsuit against unions for breach of contract. Students have paid the university and staff to provide a service which is obviously not being provided.

    Funny why people wonder why Wisconsin is attempting to remove collective bargaining. High time union members get a reality slap and join the real employment world for I am sure there are a dozen people waiting for you jobs.

    • Perhaps actually informing yourself of the situation would make your words more credible.

      First of all, as a student, I’m not a pawn in the game of a union making unreasonable demands – I’ve been a pawn since the beginning, with increased cuts to my programs making it increasingly difficult to finish my degree.

      Second, every member of the Faculty Association that I saw today had great care for me, many who worked incredibly hard to the last minute to answer any and all questions we had and help us get ourselves on track to take our education into our own hands during the strike and in the long-term.

      Third, VIUFA has every right to make note of the lack of raises they have received despite the increase in living expenses, but they are not asking for an increase in wages. That has been clear for a long time.

      Fourth, perhaps you should inform yourself as to what the “no lay-off” policy is all about. n mediation, VIUFA offered to negotiate the demand for no lay-offs and asked the mediator to suggest to the employer a process based on “Financial Exigency,” which comprises “an open and transparent investigation by a fact-finding commission, jointly appointed by the board and the academic staff association.” This is a clause that exists in almost every single post-secondary collective agreement province wide, among the few new universities of the last few years. See http://www.caut.ca/pages.asp?lang=1&page=274 for more information.

      Fifth, with enrolment up 7% last year alone and wait-lists for classes increasing each semester, us “Students have paid the university and staff to provide a service which is obviously not being provided” isn’t due to a strike, but due to government’s lack of support of education and poor decision-making that decreases our ability to be successful.

      And finally, if you didn’t notice in Wisconsin, workers didn’t particularly like the idea of removing collective bargaining. Especially those workers who rely on it as one of the only effective means of being treated fairly by employers who don’t consider the best interests of the worker.

      I am a VIU student and I support the faculty and staff, all these hard working men and women, who make it possible for me to learn along side them and because of them. And you’re right – I should have the right to file a class-action lawsuit, but not against the union. it is time that the government recognize that by tying the hands of the employer, they take away from the possibility of sustaining a thriving learning environment.

      In Solidarity,

      A Concerned Student.

      • Let me preface this by saying that I completely agree with you about the caring and professional nature of the vast majority of the faculty at VIU. This argument is not about the faculty wanting more or the administration wanting to gut the union, it is about how to equitably deal with the hand the province has dealt the university.

        A “no layoffs under any circumstances” stance is clearly unacceptable, even the faculty association has backed off from that position (kind of). While it may sound reasonable a “financial exigency” clause (as proposed by CAUT in the link you cite above) is really a “no layoffs under any circumstances” clause in disguise.

        “Financial exigency” can only be invoked when the university is on the verge of bankrupcy. While most universities in Canada may have such a clause the test is so strict that no university in Canada has ever successfully used it. VIU is not in a position where they could declare financial exigency (they have had a balanced budget every year – in fact they are required by law to do so). They do need to continue to contain costs so that a fixed budget can meet rising demands.

        Let’s pretend for a moment though that VIU has successfully declared a financial exigency. Let’s assume that it is therefore agreed by all that VIU may cut their faculty costs. One way that I hope most people would agree is a reasonable approach to this is to reduce or eliminate programs that have high costs and low student demand. A financial exigency clause can not accomplish this because it does not allow you to look at student demand or the relevancy of what the professor is teaching. When it is invoked the layoffs must be done in reverse order of seniority across all the members of the union. If a professor is only qualified to teach in a program you need to cut, but he has seniority, you still have to give him a job; while perhaps laying off a more junior member in another department whose classes are always full.

        It is not clear where the line is drawn around “first examining all other options” but the implication is that you chop everything else to the bone before you lay off any faculty. Just to pick an example, this could mean severly restricting the hours the library is open in order to preserve a program with half a dozen students in it because you are not allowed to lay any of the teachers off).

        You should also be aware that while the faculty association is correct in saying that many other universities have such a clause the clause generally only applies to faculty that have tenure. Tenure has popularly been characterized as a “job for life” and is not given to all the teachers. Many professors go through their entire careers without ever achieveing tenure. Statistics vary widely on how many at a university are even offered a chance at this status but typically less than half the teaching staff at a university have tenure. The other half have no protection from layoff under a “financial exigency” clause.

        VIU does not have a tenure system – they have a “regularization” system. New faculty are usually given this status automatically after a one-year “probationary” period. Temporary faculty earn it automatically after several years of temporary service. When the VIU faculty association talks about “no-layoffs” they are therefore talking about all “regular” faculty – or in essense almost everyone in the association. No university has a clause that “everyone whose job primarily involves teaching or instructional support” is immune from layoff except under a financial crisis. Of course there are two other unions at VIU also. If the VIUFA achieved a clause like this how could the administration look the other two unions in the face and not offer the same deal? [At this point it’s probably worth noting that the existing faculty collective agreement already gives the employee quite a few rights in terms of notification period, ability to move to a different department, get retraining, take severance pay, etc. It also requires the administration to sit down with the union and explore alternative solutions before anyone can be laid off]

        The faculty association has raised legitimate fears that some programs may be cut and wait lists may be longer. This is a reality of the inadequate provincial funding VIU receives. For each full time student VIU gets about 2/3 as much provincial funding as a “real” university like UVic. In fact they receive less provincial funding per student than Okanagan College – even though they have a much higher percentage of upper-division courses, which tend to be the more expensive ones to teach.

        Because of conflict of interest concerns the role of the faculty association must be limited in deciding which programs stay and which ones go. Their role is to protect all their members – they can’t do this if they are asked to decide that professor A should lose a job and not professor B (in fact if they did so the professor losing his job could conceivably charge them under section 12 of the BC Labour Code). This does not prevent the faculty association from proposing contractual language that more clearly spells out what constitutes a non-viable program offering (eg less than half full three years running?) but so far their focus (at least in public) has not been in that area – they are still chanting the “no layoffs”/”financial exigency” mantra, which I hope I have demonstrated is a road to nowhere.

  3. Thanks to QuestionsEverything for your comprehensive analysis of the VIU situation. It would clear up a lot of confusion if you could find a way to publish it more widely.

  4. I am an instructor at VIU. QuestionEverything is wrong on two points. He/she writes:

    “They do need to continue to contain costs so that a fixed budget can meet rising demands.”

    VIU’s budget is not “fixed.” Increases in tuition and enrolment-related revenue, as a result of rising student numbers and fees charged, have more than compensated for flat government funding. the Administration has options which, for reasons of its own, it does not wish to exercise.

    “VIU does not have a tenure system – they have a ‘regularization’ system . . . . Temporary faculty earn it automatically after several years of temporary service. When the VIU faculty association talks about ‘no-layoffs’ they are therefore talking about all ‘regular’ faculty – or in essense almost everyone in the association.”

    Again, wrong. Temporary faculty are only regularized if they are given a half-time load for for four semesters in a row. The department in which I teach has numerous instructors who have worked for VIU for many years without ever becoming regularized. They are, however, members of VIUFA. They are also, of course, among its most vulnerable members, esp. when an administration starts cutting classes because its priorities lie elsewhere.

    The only people on campus more vulnerable are the students themselves.

    • Frank Moher writes:

      “The only people on campus more vulnerable are the students themselves.”

      Well said. The thing that is hurting those students the most at the moment is the job action that VIUFA is engaged in. It’s easy to claim it will benefit the students in the long run (without any need to actually back up that allegation) but right now most of them just want to get on with the semester and their lives. I see they’re hoping to get 1000 students out for a march on Ralph’s office tomorrow (great theatre but ultimately pointless)- that still leaves 15,000 or so that just want to get back to their studies.

      Please do whatever is in your power to convince the VIUFA team to go back to the table ready to bargain. For starters, how about some actual language on what “job security” means so we can all stop speculating here. When John Black was called on whether it was the CAUT language referenced on the VIUFA web site he backpedalled furiously (I see all those discussions have now been deleted from the VIUFA site). In her “open letter” today to Harry Jantzen Gara says she wants to “discuss interests”, wouldn’t it be better to come ready to bargain (for those that don’t get the distinction, “discuss interests” strikes me as doublespeak for “we want to talk about a bunch of stuff, but we don’t want to commit to anything and we don’t want any record kept of the discussion so that if at the end of the day we don’t like how it went we can claim anything we want”)

  5. VIUFA has been negotiating. I don’t see any evidence that VIU admin is dong the same.

    To whit, VIUFA proposed a no layoff clause, similar to what was negotiated at Acadia this past year. This has been refused, so VIUFA has told admin in mediation that they are willing to discuss a financial exigency clause. That’s called negotiating. Where is admin doing their part to negotiate on this issue? Have they made any counter proposal or expressed any willingness to discuss terms around a financial exigency clause that might satisfy both parties? Admin is fully aware that VIUFA is willing to discuss financial exigency – a position which notably opens the door to negotiate the terms of such a clause in a way that could be satisfactory to both VIUFA and admin. Where’s a response or ideas from admin?

    Can anyone direct me to any public statement (or even allude to any hearsay) suggesting that admin is willing to discuss terms of a financial exigency clause or something similar that might improve job security and transparency in layoff processes for faculty?

    As far as I can tell, the story so far reads …
    VIUFA … no layoffs
    VIU admin … no
    VIUFA … ok, we are willing to discuss a financial exigency clause
    VIU admin … *crickets*

  6. I should also post some clarification on “financial exigency”:

    1) Such clauses have the ability to define the terms of exigency. For example here is the current UBC clause:
    “1.01 For the purpose of this Agreement, a “financial exigency” shall be deemed to exist when the Board of Governors has declared
    that the University faces a financial deficit that cannot reasonably be met without the termination of some term appointments
    with review or appointments without term, or without
    the non-renewal of some term appointments with review.”
    See previous link to the UBC CA.

    That is, if administration proposes to impose layoffs for budgetary reasons, they need to be prepared to demonstrate that there really is a budgetary shortfall. That’s not unreasonable. The university doesn’t have to demonstrate bankruptcy or other unreasonable financial criteria that cannot be met.

    2) Financial exigency clauses do not necessarily preclude laying off staff from programs that are redundant or not in demand. They normally come into effect when the reasons for layoffs are presented as budgetary.
    Here’s a clause from Nippising’s collective agreement illustrating this point.
    Link to the Nippising CA – nipissingu.ca/hr/downloads/CA-09.pdf (U need to add the standard prefix again) See articles 44 and 45.
    “(c) The projection of financial losses may be accompanied by a failure to meet enrolment expectations, concerns about program quality or other elements of program redundancy, but if the impetus towards action comes principally from financial concerns, the matter will be dealt with as provided for in this Article.
    (d) Concerns about program quality or enrolment may exist within a context of fiscal constraint, but if the impetus towards action comes principally from concerns about academic quality or demand, the matter will be dealt with as provided for in Article 45 (Program Redundancy).”
    Article 45 then details the procedure for laying off faculty because of low demand.

    Let me say it again.
    Financial exigency is invoked when administration claims that the layoffs are for budgetary reasons as has been happening at VIU – where fully enrolled programs, with full classes and literally hundreds of students on waitlists have been cut. If the rationale for layoffs is not budgetary, financial exigency is not invoked. Therefore, such a clause would not prevent the administration from laying staff off for other reasons and “financial exigency” is in no way equivalent to simply having no layoffs at all.

    The fact is that an appropriate set of definitions and qualifications on any financial exigency and related clauses could be negotiated at VIU, as has been done at other institutions, if administration was at the table negotiating.

    • Apparently the parties are getting together as soon as a time that works for the parties and the mediator can be arranged.

      One thing I am still very curious about is if any of these financial exigency clauses protect faculty who are not tenured or on tenure track? As I mentioned back on Mar 11 VIU does not have tenure – it will be interesting to see how the parties propose to shoehorn this clause onto a group of employees it has never been meant to serve.

  7. “Do any of these financial exigency clauses protect faculty who are not tenured?”

    Yep, the majority of them do. Google collective agreements at universities and you can read them. I did this for all the available universities on MacLeans university rankings.

    Over 90% of the ones I found have some sort of financial exigency type clause that requires the admin to form a committee with faculty to review and verify financial grounds for laying off members.

    And when looking specifically at the primarily undergad universities that are similar in offerings to VIU, apparently 2 of them do have have clauses that apply only to tenure stream faculty – but these are both NO Layoff clauses not financial exigency clauses. For all the others save 1, they have financial exigency type clauses and these are not restricted to only tenure track members.

    The only university I know that restricts financial exigency to tenure track members is Thompson Rivers University. But, its clearly the anomaly not the norm.

  8. I suspect NotSoWell”Informed” either misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued the question. This is what I found for the first 12 “primarily undergraduate” universities:

    1.) Mount Allison: Layoff language very similar to VIUs, no exigency clause

    2.) Acadia: no layoffs, only applies to “Tenure-Stream Position Complement”

    3.) UNBC: all positions are “tenure or tenure track” (except for some limited use of term appointments). Layoffs for “program reduncancy” are not subject to exigency.

    4.) Lethbridge: could not find any exigency language – citation please.

    5.) Wilfrid Laurier: all faculty are on a tenure track except for “limited term” employees. Exigency clause applies to all.

    6.) Trent: all faculty are on a tenure track except for “limited term” employees. Exigency applies to all.

    7.) St. Francix Xavier: All faculty are tenure-track. Exigency clause.

    8.) Bishops: all appointment are tenure track. exigency clause. Others may be laid off on recommendation of the senate (joint committee)

    9.) UPEI: all appointments are tenure-track. Exigency clause.

    10.) Winnipeg: all are tenure-track or limited term. Exigency Clause.

    11.) Saint Mary’s: lay-off and recall language. exigency mentioned in relation to program closures only.

    12.) All appointments are tenure track. Exigency exists (called “Lay off for financial reasons).

  9. Mount Allison – layoffs for “bona fide financial reasons” which invokes the formation of committee to review the budget and look for alternatives. This is exactly how a financial exigency clause works and financial exigency in several agreements is defined as a bona fide financial crisis. It protects all members including sessionals and term appointments.

    Acadia – NO LAYOFFS (much stronger than financial exigency and negotiated through 2014), but it does only apply to tenure stream

    UNBC – Lol, all positions aren’t tenure track when you yourself state there are some term appointments. These are protected by the financial exigency clause.

    Lethbridge – I couldn’t find their current collective agreement on the internet.

    Wilfrid Laurier – As you note, they have FE and it applies to all members including non-tenured term appointments.

    Trent – As you note, they have FE and it applies to all members including term appointments.

    St Francis Xavier – FE applies to all members including part-time faculty and term appointments.

    Bishop’s – FE applies to all members including partial appointees and term appointments.

    UPEI – FE applies to all Members. (“The Parties agree that layoff of Members shall only occur in accordance with the requirements of this Article.” An article on FE.)
    From the agreement … “Member” (always capitalized) means an employee who is designated as a member of the bargaining unit by the Order of Certification – File 01-001, including Faculty Members, Sessionals Instructors, Librarians and Clinical Nursing Instructors.

    Winnipeg – FE applies to all members including librarians and other non-tenured continuing appointments – (e.g., Instructors, Counsellors at the Rank of Instructor, Coaches, Athletic Therapists, The Director of Student Teaching, Supervisor – Technical Theatre Program, Department of Theatre and Film.).

    St. Mary’s – you are correct on this one.

    Now, for the universities you missed:
    Brock (financial exigency), Cape Breton (bona fide financial reasons that must be verified by a committee including faculty members), Brandon (retrenchment – requires verification by a committee including faculty members), Lakehead (bona fide financial crisis that must be verified by a committee including faculty members), Laurentian (FE), Mount Saint Vincent (FE), Nippissing (FE), Ryerson (FE), St Thomas (FE).

    In all of these cases, the clause applies to all members, including some that are not tenure track.

    You have previously stated that only 50% of universities have FE. You have previously stated that FE doesn’t apply to non-tenured faculty. Your own data in the above post contradicts both points – 7 of 11 have FE by your count (64%), although really its 9 of 11 (82%) that have FE or better (Acadia’s no layoff clause, and MA has FE without using the term FE). When you include the universities you have skipped, it appears that ~90% of these universities have a clause that requires a considerable process of transparency when they are laying off faculty for financial reasons – something equivalent to FE however you might call it. It is also obviously the case that such clauses are NOT restricted to tenure stream faculty(see the quotes from UPEI’s agreement for one explicit example).

    I’ll let the data speak for itself instead of resorting to the name calling that you have.

    • Please show me where I said that only 50% of the universities had FE (hint: I never said that).

    • You might want to take a closer look at how the Mt Allison clause works:

      33.06 Within ten (10) days of the provision of this notice, the Union and the Employer shall
      each appoint two (2) persons, and the Senate shall appoint a chair, to a Committee
      which shall examine possible methods of avoiding the layoff of employees including, but
      not restricted to, leaves of absence, early retirements, transfers, retraining, and the
      liquidation of assets.

      It focuses on the mitigation of the layoffs through leaves, retirements, etc (liquidation of assets is probably not relevant at VIU where the reserves are pretty much at zero) rather than on forcing savings in every other part of the operation (thus much like the VIU language though the committee and notification procedures are certainly more formal)

  10. I have learned alot in following this process and reading agreements. One of the things that we hear is that this fight is about making programs, classes, and students the top priority at VIU. I think the spirit of this intent is nicely captured in some of the preamble language I have read in financial exigency clauses.

    From Calgary:
    Art 22.1. The first duty of the University must be to ensure that its academic priorities remain paramount, particularly in regard to the quality of instruction and research. The Governors, when faced with budgetary restrictions, will ensure the primacy of the University’s educational functions by considering cuts in academic programs or resultant cuts of Board appointments only after all practicable cuts have been made in all other budgetary areas of the University.

    From Ryerson
    A.01 The University and the Association agree that the primary goals of the University are teaching, scholarship and research, and that the first duty of the University is to ensure that its academic priorities remain paramount, particularly with regard to the quality of instruction and research and the preservation of academic freedom. Any reduction of faculty members for budgetary reasons shall occur only as a last resort during a state of financial exigency.

    From Mount Saint Vincent
    17.2. In the light of the parties’ recognition of the primacy of the University’s academic mission and in their desire to preserve the academic integrity of the University, the Board of Governors shall not declare a state of financial exigency and/or initiate the lay-off of members of the bargaining unit except after rigorous economies have been introduced in all sectors of the University, including reductions of non-bargaining unit staff, and after all means of obtaining revenue have been explored and exhausted.

  11. The Mount Allison clause is nothing like VIU’s, and although weaker than some university’s financial exigency clauses, it represents a substantially more transparent and accountable process than is present at VIU.

    Unlike at VIU, the agreement requires bona fide financial reasons or bona fide academic reasons. Furthermore, layoffs “shall only occur after full debate and consideration, after full consideration of other options, and after notice has been given, all as provided in this article.” Again, this is a significant departure from VIU.

    Moreover, unlike at VIU, the due process involves the formation of a committee with faculty representation before any layoffs take place – and the committee has 40 days to consider any way it might eliminate layoffs.

    Keeping in mind the clause states that the layoffs require bona fide financial reasons which require “full debate and consideration”, the committee has the latitude to consider whether their are financial alternatives to laying people off. From your own quote, the committee evaluates a number of things “including, BUT NOT RESTRICTED TO, leaves of absence, early retirements, transfers, retraining, and the liquidation of assets.” The liquidation of assets is one specific item that is different from VIU, and although not insignificant, the option to discuss other things is indeed more important.

  12. “Please show me where I said that only 50% of the universities had FE (hint: I never said that).”

    Yep, there is a poster named Alas in the other article who has posted many similar things as you and with the same tone, so that correction is intended for that person.

    I will note, though, that you also previously erroneously implied that financial exigency is really a no layoff clause in disguise and that ““Financial exigency” can only be invoked when the university is on the verge of bankrupcy.” Having read more collective agreements, including ones I have posted above, I trust you now recognize that neither is true (see my example from UBC above).

    You also incorrectly state that once financial exigency is invoked, that no rational decisions could be made about what programs to reduce. In fact, how layoffs are made once exigency is invoked is entirely subject to collective bargaining – many universities engage senate to help inform decisions based on academic priorities. For example, from Nipissing’s agreement …

    “the Board will only institute lay-offs of Members of the bargaining units following a process of consultation with Senate. In recognition by the parties of the right of Senate to determine the academic priorities of the University, Senate will have the sole right to determine the number of teaching positions to be discontinued within each faculty and each division provided that the total compensation savings required in Article 44.11(a) are achieved.”

    In general, the spirit of a financial exigency clause is to increase the transparency and accountability of the process when faculty are laid off for financial reasons and to ensure the primacy of teaching and scholarly activity at the institution is preserved.

    The exact details of how this might “fit” at VIU are open to negotiation, but that’s exactly what VIUFA and VIU should be at the table doing.

    • I will concede that I have learned a lot about the variety of exigency clauses out there since this debate started, I thank you for your help with that.

      My original comments were based on the strict language in the CAUT model clause(as that is what VIUFA posted on their website as an example of the language they were looking for). Having not been able to find anywhere a copy of the actual language VIUFA was proposing (and having a pretty good suspicion they hadn’t written any at the time) I submit that was an honest mistake. I still maintain that all my comments are accurate with respect to the CAUT language, but that is a moot point if in fact that is not what VIUFA is looking for.

      Perhaps if this proposal had been introduced at some time other than when a strike was hours away both parties could have reflected on it more fully and avoided all this confusion.

      Please accept my apology for the “name calling” earlier today. I though at the time it was clever and it was only meant to be a friendly jab. On reflection I can see it was disrespectful.

  13. QuestionEverything writes:

    “One thing I am still very curious about . . .”

    One thing I’m very curious about is who QuestionEverything is.

    My name is Frank Moher. I am an instructor at VIU.

    Who are you?

    Frank Moher
    Instructor at VIU

  14. I am someone who has been a part of VIU since the Malaspina College days and who cares a great deal about its future. I am someone who is disheartened and disgusted about the disinformation campaign VIUFA is waging as part of this labour dispute.

    I have seen the VIUFA try to discredit Ralph, not by fair comment on his management decisions but by innuendo that he has lined his own pockets at the expense of VIU (the facts show his compensation is in line with his peers)

    I have seen videos of colleagues on the picket line stating this is all about “transparency and preserving choice for students”. The fact is that nothing even remotely resembling “transparency” was raised by the VIUFA team until the 11th hour, after the “give us ‘no layoffs’ or we walk” brinksmanship had failed.

    Show me where on the original “wish list” it says anything about transparency. Isn’t it true that if VIU had accepted the “no layoffs” proposal we wouldn’t have heard a word about transparency or choice during these negotiations?

    Now “transparency” is all the rage, but we’ve not actually seen anything that says what VIUFA really means by it. The VIUFA team has whined “but they won’t negotiate with us”. Tell me then why they didn’t write down what they wanted last Thursday, give it to Grant Murray and request that VIU respond. Had they done that at least they would be able to say “we asked for this and they refused”. As it is nobody outside the VIUFA inner circle can honestly say they know what this dispute currently hinges on.

    We’ve done much speculating here. Perhaps “Informed” has some inside knowledge. I haven’t seen you ask who he/she is – is that because you already know? Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd though that “Informed” is willing to tell the world what VIUFA wants yet VIUFA has yet to tell the university? Until VIUFA actually tables their proposal we won’t know if my take on what is being asked for or Informed’s is closer to the truth.

    Does my name really matter? Take the high road Frank – go after the message, not the messenger.

  15. In my view, the high road is using one’s name. That goes for everyone in this discussion (and no, I have no idea who any of you really are).

    My name, by the way, is Frank Moher. I am an instructor at VIU.

    Frank Moher
    Vancouver Island University

  16. I personally am transferring out of this “University”.
    Among others, I’m sure.
    If this strike continues, there WILL be a class action lawsuit.
    As if VIU can afford to refund tuition, never mind the damages students have undergone.
    This is a petty strike, and although us as students do not belong to a union, we still have legal rights.

  17. Nice to see some courageous and sane Faculty members willing to brave the bully tactics of VIUFA and enlighten others with questions, vs. Rhetoric which is what I expect of those in higher education. Anyone close to VIU knows who “informed is” – not hard to tell that tone or willingness to argue. Unfortunately, I fear the ego battle with VIUFA negotiators is going to add more harm to the rest of faculty soon. The leveraging of students was bad enough but there is now a long unpaid summer coming for faculty. Time to put your ideas down in an academic paper, get some fresh new negotiators in on both sides and have this wrapped up. The benefits have not and will never outweigh the costs.

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