If you’re reading this alongside the latest bargaining updates from UNB management, you could be forgiven for wondering if you’d strayed into a parallel universe. UNB management continues to assure the world that they are committed to a negotiated agreement. “Faculty are the lifeblood of any university”, we are told. “We are committed to continuing to negotiate to achieve a new collective agreement,” another email to students insists. Yet there has been little progress on key issues. UNB’s administration seems keen on continuing, but not on concluding, the contract negotiations that began ten months ago.
AUNBT has a simple response to these protestations: send a bargaining team to the table with an actual mandate to bargain.
Negotiating requires that the people in UNB management who make the decisions stop hiding in their offices and board rooms and roll up their sleeves. Merely sending a team to sit in a row at a long table day after day does not amount to negotiating. Denying that team a real bargaining mandate is not negotiating. Refusing even to discuss issues is not negotiating.
No-one strikes recreationally. Certainly not in New Brunswick in January. AUNBT is the only NB faculty union that has never gone on strike. But over 90% of our full-time members have become so frustrated with spending priorities at UNB that they are willing to take that step now. We are not willing to continue to circle the drain. AUNBT members came to UNB to contribute to a nationally competitive comprehensive university. Yet we are discovering that our work is not valued and that the current senior administration refuses to take concrete action to maintain our reputation and standing.
Make no mistake. If our team leaves the table, it will not be AUNBT that is refusing to negotiate.