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    • 15 MAY 23
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    Member Voices: Attending CAUT’s Collective Bargaining and Organizing Forum

    Member Voices: Attending CAUT’s Collective Bargaining and Organizing Forum

    In March, FSA Tech Rep Fraser Robertson attended the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ (CAUTCollective Bargaining and Organizing Forum. Below, Fraser shares thoughts on the forum and its utility for members.

    Recently, I had the privilege of attending CAUT’s Collective Bargaining and Organizing forum as a representative of the FSA. The two-day event brought together representatives from thirty Canadian post-secondary faculty and staff associations to discuss current trends in bargaining, labour organizing, and member engagement.

    The forum consisted of a series of presentations and roundtables that covered topics such as offensive vs. defensive bargaining, post-pandemic bargaining, research on the effectiveness of work-to-rule during labour disputes, strike organizing, and equity gains in bargaining.

    Aside from the informative presentations, the biggest benefit I derived came from discussions with other attendees at roundtables, during meals, and coffee breaks. One roundtable discussion I participated in focused on member engagement, strike experiences, and the current bargaining environment. It led to an exchange of great ideas about member participation in the lead-up to and during bargaining. We discussed methods for broadening engagement, including the use of a phone-tree, and how to create more member participation in the process of securing a collective agreement. That same roundtable wound up with a discussion of regressive legislation in Ontario and the impact of a salary mandate on bargaining. I mentioned that the public sector in BC had been bargaining under wage mandates for years and jaws dropped.

    We received some great insights from Concordia University of Edmonton about their recent strike and the experience of being the first post-secondary institution in Alberta to go on strike: In particular, their frantic strike preparation as they sent out members to buy up all the poster board at the local craft shops to make picket signs.

    I would like to thank the FSA for the opportunity to attend this forum, which allowed me pass on the insights and experiences of other faculty and staff unions, across the country, to my fellow FSA members.

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