The Association’s membership voted by secret ballot for an unlimited strike mandate at the Special General Assembly of November 4, 2012. Fully 95% of the membership supported the mandate. What does this mean exactly?
First, this does not mean we are on strike or that a strike will be declared tomorrow morning or next week. A “strike mandate” as a course of action is part of the necessary legal process an association must follow within the collective bargaining process, but it is also a symbolic action. It is a public notification of our Association’s valuation of the progress made toward our next Collective Agreement. We take this occasion to publicly express our concerns about the ability to achieve what we all want: a new collective agreement that respects the contributions Part-time faculty have made and will continue to make at Concordia, an agreement that is a fair deal, an agreement that contributes to the overall labour health of Concordia.
Second, no one, we repeat, no one “wins” in a full strike. Our Association does not wish to go down that road. We do not believe President Shepard wishes to lose the momentum of his new administration through the acrimony of labour conflict. We call on him to bring his leadership, to bring his new ideas to the table. We believe labour relations should be diverted onto a more positive track, and we look forward to having this discussion with him.
Third, to the Concordia students, we wish to reassure you. During the spring term and into the summer, you demonstrated in record numbers to communicate concerns over the future of education to your school, to the government, and to the public at large. This historic protest did many things, not the least of which was to disrupt your own academic progress. We know regardless of where you stood on those issues, you were looking forward to returning to normal during this school year. Know that CUPFA is deeply concerned with your well-being. We routinely say that your learning conditions are our working conditions and we mean that. We are educators. We take this responsibility to the core of our identity. As we progress through this negotiation with the University, we will always strive to act responsibly. We will go the extra mile to ensure that our students receive the best education, the education they expected to receive when they chose Concordia.
The Part-time faculty of Concordia University are tremendously proud of our university. It is our hope that we can conclude our next collective agreement as quickly as possible. We are not asking for extravagance, we are asking for fairness.
Maria E. Peluso, President