By 1972 the support staff employees at the University of Manitoba recognized that they had a problem. There was a lack of parity to the job market in Winnipeg and inconsistency in levels of pay for the various classifications of employees.
Jobs were not posted and promotion was not available to all, regardless of ability. Some employees were not paid for overtime, regardless of the number of hours they might work in a week. Problems existed in the application of maternity leave. As the universities were facing tough financial times, employees felt a need for greater job security and more formal lines of communication. It was clear that other employees who were unionized were “getting a better deal.”
At that time there was a group called the Support Staff Association University of Manitoba (SSAUM), but a formal and strong voice did not exist. That summer a committee of employees met to draft a Charter for a new organization and to create a separate entity to represent the specific needs of the support staff. On December 9, 1972 the Charter meeting was held, interim officers were elected to lead the way and the Association of Employees Supporting Education Services (AESES) was formed.
The first contract, negotiated on behalf of approximately 1100 employees for the University of Manitoba, was negotiated and then concluded on October 10, 1973. Aside from the actual dollar considerations, the most important achievement of that round of bargaining was the establishment of a fair and equitable classification system. You now receive equal pay for equal work and know where you and your fellow employees stand.
That first contract also gained five significant provisions which permanently improved your welfare:
- a method for posting and filling of all vacancies;
- a procedure for situations of organizational or technological changes;
- recognition of seniority;
- a clear procedure and due process for warnings, suspensions and dismissal;
- a grievance procedure.
Since the organization was formed there have been many other accomplishments. Collective bargaining and relations between employee and employer have played the biggest role in progress for AESES employees. At the University of Manitoba we have successfully negotiated 17 Collective Agreements spanning over 30 years.
The expansion of AESES continued when the support staff at The University of Winnipeg became active in the fall of 1984 and 65% of the employee population signed membership cards. AESES filed an application for certification on December 21, 1984. In August 1985, AESES was certified as the bargaining agent for The University of Winnipeg’s support staff. Following this certification, AESES successfully established a job classification system at The University of Winnipeg that was fair and objective for all members and the Bargaining Team successfully concluded the first round of bargaining in the spring of 1987. AESES has since negotiated 12 agreements over the past 20 years with The University of Winnipeg.
Further growth of the AESES family took place on February 10, 1987 when AESES filed an application to certify the support staff employees at St. Andrew’s College; they were certified in the spring of 1988 and their first Collective Agreement was negotiated that same year.
The newest addition to AESES was the University of Manitoba Security Services (UMSS). AESES was certified with the Labour Board on June 13, 1996 as the Bargaining Agent for UMSS.
Today AESES is certified by the Manitoba Labour Board as the exclusive Bargaining Agent for support staff at the University of Manitoba, The University of Winnipeg, and St. Andrew’s College. We represent close to 2,800 employees.
Through AESES, you are assured of an effective line of communication between yourself and the University. The Association also provides a strong measure of collective strength, fellowship, education, security, economic gain and equality.
In the years that your association has existed, salary levels of all employees have been substantially upgraded. A proper classification system has been put into place. Security and due process for all employees has been attained. And holidays and vacations have been improved through the efforts of AESES. Most of all, AESES now means that there is a strong voice speaking on your behalf!