A recent article published on a "labour blog" by AUFA member Bob Barnetson purports to be an analysis of some current bargaining that is going on between AU and two of its employee groups, CUPE 3911 and AUFA. This is in regard to our organizing of our 52 out-of-province tutors and academic experts (known as OOPs). However, Barnetson’s article isn't really an analysis, because what Barnetson claims to be the facts of the case are just his fantasies.
It should first be noted that the leadership of AUFA and CUPE 3911 have held several discussions on these matters and, although we disagree on certain things, agreed to keep the discussion on an internal basis because that is in the best interests of both groups. It would appear, however, that Barnetson knows better and now wants to serve the employer's interests by trying to provoke a public brawl between AUFA and CUPE 3911. We wonder if he has the support of his Executive on this. But whatever. We can brawl too. And so can the other 650,000 members of our national union.
Barnetson’s article is a thinly-veiled cheering session for AUFA and a blatant attack on CUPE 3911 which is the union local that is the legitimate representative of the interests of the OOPs. The OOPs tutors and academic experts do the same job as CUPE’s in-province members, as even Barnetson admits, but the local has been blocked from organizing them, beginning with initial attempts in 2006, due to certain provincial labour legislation. So the idea that AUFA has a better claim to represent the OOPs than CUPE 3911 is nonsense.
Barnetson’s article is full of misrepresentations and errors of fact, even going so far as to claim that no OOPs has never expressed a desire to be part of CUPE 3911 (perhaps he has read all their minds using his psychic powers?) and that CUPE 3911 is no better than CLAC, which is an employer (not employee) union active in Alberta. Coming from a former executive of AUFA which refused to oppose AU’s arbitrary implementation of the employer's call centre on the faculty, tutors and academic experts at AU this is pretty rich!
The article also grossly misrepresents the nature of collective bargaining by making the ludicrous claim that whenever a union agrees with an employer it is "selling out". As anyone involved in bargaining knows, the (admittedly flawed) process involves both sides making proposals and then trying to find common ground. At the end of the process a new contract agreement is signed with the employer so, according to Barnetson, all unions are sellouts, including his own. We applaud him for being the only bargaining representative on the face of the earth who has never agreed with the employer! We picture him at a bargaining session, demonstrating his militancy by disagreeing with how the employer positioned the chairs in the room.
In the end, Barnetson’s article is just an attempt to divide employee groups at AU which only serves the interests of the employer. As already mentioned it is also a contribution to AUFA’s ongoing goal of trying to take over all of CUPE 3911. Interestingly, the author claims to be on the side of the workers even as he carries out his divisive attacks. So, we certainly do wonder if the underlying cause of his fake analysis is that he lives in a permanent state of dizziness as a result of all that spin that he puts on things!