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CAUT Bulletin Archives

October 2013

CAUT launches new award for grievance work

Bernice Schrank [Amirault Photography]
Bernice Schrank [Amirault Photography]
CAUT Council has created the Bernice C. Schrank Award to recognize outstanding contributions to the enforcement of academic staff workplace rights through the grievance process.

“This is a long overdue and very important way of recognizing the vital work done by those who ensure hard-won collective agreement provisions are enforced,” says CAUT executive director James Turk.

The award’s namesake, Bernice Schrank, is a professor of English at Memorial University of Newfoundland. From a union family, she was a student radical in the 1960s, engaging in civil rights and anti-Vietnam war agitation. This commitment to justice carried over into her university career where she has been a fierce advocate for the protection of workers’ rights.

Her areas of union activity in­clude drafting contract language, negotiating collective agreements, chairing the faculty association’s grievance committee, chairing CAUT’s academic freedom and tenure committee, speaking at CAUT’s workshops for senior grievance officers and delivering CAUT’s grievance handling workshop at campuses across the country.

“CAUT is pleased to announce this award, and honoured that professor Schrank would allow us to place her name on it,” Turk said. “The rights we enjoy did not fall from the skies; they were created, and continue to exist, because of people like Bernice.”

Nominees for the award must demonstrate a history of consistent and active defense of collective agreement provisions through the grievance process over a long period of time; leadership within their association; and participation in educational initiatives associated with the transmission of grievance handling knowledge and skills.