Posted January 29, 2013:
(Antigonish, January 29, 2013) Members of the St. Francis Xavier University Association of University Teachers (StFXAUT) are back on the picket line today for the second day of their strike for a fair contract.
“We’re grateful for the support we received yesterday from students, union and non-union staff at the university, other unions in town and the general public,” said Peter McInnis, president of the StFXAUT. “Our members are coming back from the picket lines ready to stay out for as long as it takes to get a reasonable agreement.”
Throughout the day, students and the public expressed their support for the strikers by honking their horns, joining the picket lines or dropping off coffee and donuts. There is also evidence of student support with banners and signs in windows on campus and around town. A Facebook account initiated by students supporting the AUT has 675 members; another 780 students signed a petition demanding the administration negotiate fairly.
Although the temperatures yesterday were well below freezing, picket captain StFX Development Studies professor Jonathan Langdon said, “The cold didn’t stop us. In fact, there is a growing sense of collegiality among a group of people who only a couple of days ago were strangers. I believe these conversations are where the culture of change at StFX begins.”
The union is seeking equity among academic staff. Contract academic staff are among the most vulnerable group in the union, representing 36% of the membership. Some members on limited term contracts carry a full-time teaching load or more, but are paid on average $25,000/year, with little or no benefits, and no job security.
According to McInnis, “The AUT is ready to go back to the negotiating table at any time to achieve a fair settlement.” The university administration has so far ignored the union’s invitation to rejoin the process.
Details of the AUT position and bargaining updates are available at www.stfxaut.ca
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For more information contact:
StFXAUT Strike Headquarters Media Line
Phone: 902- 735-3261