As mentioned in the last issue of The Outsider, our so-called labour ally at Athabasca University, AUFA (Athabasca University Faculty Association), lodged an “unfair labour practice” (reprinted in the previous issue) with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (LRB) to try to block our legitimate organizing drive of our 50 out-of-province tutors and academic experts (OOPs). As we have explained to our members previously, CUPE 3911 has been attempting to organize the OOPs since 2006 but we have been blocked by Alberta’s Public Service Employee Relations Act (PSERA) until now.
While AUFA has openly admitted on several occasions that the OOPs do exactly the same jobs as our equivalent in-province members and logically belong in CUPE 3911, AUFA still wanted to organize the OOPs simply in order to increase its membership. Obviously, the OOPs and AUFA are a bad fit because AUFA members are full-time faculty while tutors and AEs are part-time, as are all members CUPE 3911. Thus, AUFA’s past and future contracts are based on the quite different needs of full-time staff. In contrast, the new CUPE 3911 contract that the members just ratified is tailor-made for our tutors and AEs.
The AUFA complaint against CUPE 3911 was partly heard by the LRB on June 12 with the usual input from lawyers on both sides. The hearing took a full day. Our CUPE rep Jennifer Chretien attended and spoke on our behalf. Thank you, Jen.
We will update our members with more information as it becomes available to us.