Dear members of Local 82 at NSCAD University,
The employer’s decision to balance their books on the backs of support staff who keep the university running is shameful. The contributions of maintenance workers and Administrative Assistants are being sadly and wrongly undervalued.
The provincial government’s demand that universities maintain balanced budgets in order to qualify for provincial funding is the context for this decision – and is also shameful. It undervalues the unique and important role NSCAD plays in our provincial economy and means the university must starve itself in the name of the bottom line.
The employer argues that they will save $430,000 overall and that contracting out maintenance jobs will save them money. We challenge them to show us how that can be achieved. I think that NSCAD’s unique environment demands maintenance staff who are familiar with the surroundings and with working in an arts facility. Not a contracted company with high staff turnover rates.
As far as I am aware, Administrative Assistants at NSCAD are already overworked and provide much needed support to a variety of arts staff and faculty who come from around the world to study here. I have no idea how Departments will function without these individuals who are hubs of knowledge, skills, and expertise. We expect these cuts will lead to a more stressful experience for staff, students, and those Admin staff left to do the work.
Yesterday I sent out a press release on why these cuts are wrong and will only hurt the experience students and faculty have at the university. I have included a link to our press release here.
I am arranging for a meeting with the Local. Please call the NSGEU if you have any questions or concerns about your rights or if you need to talk to your Employee Relations Officer, Tina Webber.
I will also be arranging for a meeting with SUNSCAD and FUNSCAD to discuss how we can oppose these cutbacks. I will also be drafting letters to the President and the Chair of the Board of Governors.
I will keep you updated with any information I receive.