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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 1997

Financial Exigency Averted at Algoma University College

At the time of writing, it appears certain Algoma University College in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario will not declare financial exigency and will not proceed with layoffs of members of the faculty bargaining unit. An investigative committee struck under the collective agreement following the board's declaration of intent to declare financial exigency on Sept. 30 found no bona fide state of financial exigency exists at the college, notwithstanding the considerable challenges posed by a current operating deficit of about five per cent of the total budget. The senate ratified the committee's finding on Oct. 29 and the board met the next day to receive the report and its findings along with the ratification of senate.

The faculty association and the board had signed a new agreement on Aug. 28, expiring on June 30, 1998. But, on Sept. 30, the board moved to invoke the financial exigency clause of the faculty collective agreement, with a proviso, however, that if the faculty would agree to concessions to reduce operating expenses by $400,000 (the $350,000 projected deficit plus a contingency of $50,000), financial exigency would not be declared.

The Algoma University Faculty Association declined to offer concessions based on the fact that the extent of the financial difficulties, as mentioned by the board at a meeting held on Sept. 18, were not brought to the attention of the faculty association during negotiations, and based on the fact that it did not have access to all the necessary information to assess the situation. Following the process in the article of their collective agreement covering layoff of faculty for financial exigency, an investigative committee was struck comprised of representatives of management, the board, the senate and the faculty association. CAUT provided an external member, Ron Melchers of the University of Ottawa, to assist Algoma faculty member Bob d'Amato in representing the faculty association.

Highlights of the committee's report and recommendations will be published in the December issue of the Bulletin.