Local 3911 is pleased to announce that our co-chair, Dougal MacDonald, is the recipient of the 2017 Alberta Federation of Labour May Day Award. Dougal has a long history of activism and has been providing leadership in the labour movement and we are thrilled to see him recognized for all his work. Please view his nomination below to learn more about Dougal's impressive portfolio and many contributions to 3911.
"CUPE Local 3911, the part-time academic instructors at Athabasca University, is pleased to nominate Dougal MacDonald for the 2017 Alberta Federation of Labour May Day Solidarity Award.
Dougal is a contract academic instructor who works primarily at Athabasca University and the University of Alberta, though he frequently takes on work at other post-secondary institutions as well. He has a long history of activism, a true passion for workers’ rights, and has demonstrated exceptional leadership in our local for the past four years while serving as one of our Co-Chairs, and is currently completing another two-year term. This past year has been one in which Dougal demonstrated an exceptionally high level of engagement in our local. In addition to his role as Co-Chair, he sits on our Bargaining committee, which is currently in negotiations with our employer, is our Communications Officer and the main contributor to our member newsletter, and regularly sits on our annual conference planning committee. He is also the Alberta representative of the CUPE National Task Force on Post-Secondary Education.
Of particular note is Dougal’s recent involvement in the coordination of the twelfth Coalition of Contingent Academic Labour Conference (COCAL XII), that was hosted by Local 3911 and took place in Edmonton, August 5-7, 2016. COCAL is a biennial conference that welcomes precarious academic workers from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., and required an exceptional amount of work to build an engaging and memorable program for the nearly 140 delegates that participated. The focus of the conference is for precarious academics to collaboratively work together and draft effective plans of action to improve the situation of contract academic workers across North America. We were privileged to have Dr. Pam Palmater, Mikmaq activist and Director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University as our keynote speaker, whom Dougal was instrumental in recruiting. Other honoured guests included the Minister of Post-Secondary Education Marlin Schmidt, the Minister of Culture Ricardo Miranda, the Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta Michael Phair, and Chief Calvin Bruneau of the Papaschase First Nation. Feedback from participants suggests that the conference was a great success and Dougal’s role as Chair of the organizing committee was crucial to this success. He was involved with every part of the planning process and volunteered many, many hours of work beyond his regular duties as our local’s Co-chair.
Dougal’s labour activism extends beyond the work he does for our local to include all that he does for the other organizations he is involved with. During 2014, Dougal was also Co-Chair of the CAS:T (contract academic staff) constituency of the Association of Academic Staff of the University of Alberta (AASUA), an organization in which he has been active in since 1999. During his time as Co-Chair for CAS:T, Dougal played a big part in improving the communication within the organization by creating, writing, and publishing the first few issues of what is now their monthly newsletter. In July 2016, Dougal was voted in again as a CAS:T Council member and he is currently a member of the AASUA Teaching and Learning Committee, which he also served on for four years from 1999-2003.
Dougal is a strong advocate for the rights of contract academic staff, is an advocate for the right to education, adequate funding for all levels of education, and affordable/free post-secondary education. In the course of these activities, he has helped organize several events, spoken at events, and published several articles on the topic. In addition to his advocacy of better and more accessible post-secondary education, he has also been a political activist for many decades and has organized and spoken at numerous meetings in support of various causes that involve defending the rights of working people. He has a history of consulting and conducting research for employee unions and organizations, social justice organizations, and First Nations bands. Examples include past work for Canadian Union of Public Employees, CUPE 474, United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), two physician organizations, Aspen Foundation for Labour, Edmonton Social Planning Council and Yellowhead Tribal Council.
In summary, Dougal is a very deserving candidate for this award and we hope that you join us in recognizing him for his past, present, and what is sure to be his future work to improve the conditions for precarious academics and all workers everywhere."