The winter term saw a flurry of organizing activity on Canadian campuses. Four faculty associations held successful certification drives and are now waiting for labour board processes to unfold.
St. Francis Xavier
The St. Francis Xavier Association of University Teachers submitted its application to become a certified bargaining agent in early April. The Labour Relations Board held a vote April 8, but the ballots will not be counted until the board considers an objection by the university on the ballot question.
The faculty association anticipates further attempts by the university to draw out the legal proceedings in order to delay certification, but says it feels confident the application will be a success.
At the University of Winnipeg, a quick drive was held to bring the per-course contract academic staff into the faculty union. The Manitoba Labour Board held a vote in April. Ballots will be counted once some minor disagreements over the voter's list have been resolved.
Byron Sheldrick, vice-president of the University of Winnipeg Faculty Association and one of the organizers, said the union is optimistic it will win the vote.
The Association of Professors of Bishop's University received an interim certificate in April to extend its representation to include all non-academic staff.
Plans to affiliate were announced in February and support staff filed March 10 for certification as a bargaining unit of APBU. More than 70 per cent of employees signed cards.
The university is challenging the definition of the bargaining unit and the inclusion of some categories of employees, so a final certificate will be issued once the Quebec labour board has ruled on their objections. Hearings began in April and will continue in September.
Staff organizer Dave Young said he saw much improvement in employees' morale and confidence after certification was handed down April 16.
"Aligning with APBU was our best choice," he said. "Their support has no boundaries."
APBU will be the first union in Canada to represent all workers on a university campus, from maintenance staff to librarians and faculty, including both full and part-time employees.
Librarians and archivists at the University of Western Ontario have applied to become a bargaining unit within the university's faculty association.
Although there are some minor disputes outstanding, the faculty association anticipates the Ontario Labour Relations Board will issue an interim certificate.