President’s Message

Full transcript of the President’s Report presented at the Annual General Meeting of the StFXAUT membership on May 4, 2016 by Brad Long

Welcome everyone. My report consists simply of several updates from my vantage as President, a few reminders, and a few words of thanks.

I’ll start with a note about students. One of the perks of this job is to hand out the StFXAUT Book Prize Awards to two deserving graduating students. If you follow our social media feeds you will have received this update already. You nominated excellent students, and an ad hoc committee of the Executive reviewed these nominees and recommended Nathan Chiarlitti and Mariah Richard who both received these awards on Sunday.

A few weeks ago we also recognized the retirements of 21 of our members, an extra-ordinary event for our university. The StFXAUT was pleased to be able to partner with the AVPs office for this event and contribute funds sufficient to cover the gifts for each retiree.

With respect to ongoing business, a few files are still open. 

  1. An issue with the provision of benefits to members 65+ years was temporarily resolved; such members are no longer required to register for Pharmacare, but the financial resolution of this needs to be resolved during our upcoming round of collective bargaining.
  2. As was done with our Health and Dental plan, an analysis of our life insurance by HR reveals it to be a very outdated policy; the coverage is low (it is capped that way) and it declines from there as one ages. A proposal to standardize the payout ratio of 2x salary regardless of age is being discussed. I will invite the new members of our Benefits Governance committee to look this over with me prior to signing off.
  3. Our own reserve fund policy document is also out of date and needs to be updated, particularly with concern for establishing an optimal level of funding, analyzing our investment policies and performance, and considering alternative uses of income generated from this fund.
  4. Efforts to recognize the Dietetic Educator position within Human Nutrition as a member of the bargaining unit has been agreed upon in principle, but the language that would govern this position is still being negotiated.

A summary of reports from committees not otherwise reporting today was circulated on Monday with the reminder email for this meeting. This report shows some of the range of items and issues managed primarily at the committee level. Some noteworthy updates include:

  1. from the Joint committee, a resolution to a dispute over the Association’s role in deciding upon what constitutes service to the Association, and a partial resolution to the issue of hiring members on limited term appointments well beyond the limitations within the CA (acknowledging that more work can be done on the latter); and
  2. from the Occupational Health & Safety committee, an item about our involvement in escalating the importance of our members’ ‘right to know’ about the existence of potential workplace hazards, particularly as they relate to ongoing construction projects that have an asbestos removal element.

On a more routine basis, my time has been spent preparing for, and being in, meetings with the Executive, acting as a sounding board for the Chief Grievance Officer, chairing the Communications Committee, providing input to other committees including Joint Committee and Contract & Benefits, and in meetings with Human Resources. I’ve also tried my best to respond to individual questions and requests from members.

Looking ahead, the most significant development will be our participation in collective bargaining for our fourth collective agreement. Our agenda indicates that I will address this point later on, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

In terms of reminders, please remember to:

  1. make use of both the conference travel grant (for those eligible) and the professional development fund, both of which tend to be underutilized; and
  2. engage with our communications channels including Facebook, Twitter, The Beacon and our website to stay up-to-date and connected with one another.

I’ll end with a few words of thanks to you for supporting me in this position for the past two years. I also appreciate the work of everyone who enthusiastically serves the membership in various committees; some are just starting new terms, others have terms wrapping up, and others are continuing to serve. A few specific shout-outs:

  1. Your Executive Committee met bi-weekly for the whole year, and this meeting’s agenda includes additional reports several folks such as Cory and Martin who performed key roles.
  2. The Nominations Committee did a great job to prepare and distribute the slate of candidates a week in advance.
  3. Rita was an exceptional secretary for the past two years, and
  4. Charlene is a particularly skillful Chief Grievance Officer.
  5. Finally, Susan manages the business of our office in a manner that is thorough and always positive. Thank you.

I will end this report and my term with these words of appreciation and invite any questions.

In solidarity,