Confederation of Canadian Unions Affiliate Report – February 2023
AESES thanks the Confederation of Canadian Unions for inviting us to Ottawa, Ontario, the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation whose culture and presence have nurtured this land for millennia. AESES members live and work on Treaty 1 Territory and Manitoba is located on the Treaty Territories and ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, and Nehethowuk Nations and on the Homeland of the Red River Métis. We acknowledge northern Manitoba includes lands that were and are the ancestral lands of the Inuit.
We respect the spirit and intent of Treaties and Treaty Making and remain committed to working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the spirit of truth, reconciliation and collaboration. The AESES Executive Council, represented by Chris McCann and myself, joined over one hundred university, community and Indigenous leaders to participate in the University of Manitoba’s (UM) Reconciliation Action Planning sessions in November. Collectively, we were asked to look at the colonial foundations and history of the University of Manitoba and to explore recommendations for fundamental changes to the structure of the organization, to acknowledge our history. and propose changes to move the institution into the future towards a goal of Mino-Pimatisiwin, or living the good life in a healthy balance with our land.
On Sunday, December 4th we held the Children’s Christmas party, the first in over two years! Over 400 parents and children were in attendance, despite a winter storm that kept some families away. Those in attendance enjoyed cookie decorating, clown entertainment, face painting, balloon animals and presents for the children. We had special guest appearances by Spiderman, kids’ entertainer Al Simmons and Santa Claus.
We kicked off the holiday season with an Open House in our new office building and union hall on December 9, which also marked the day of the very first gathering of six employees at a “study session” 50 years ago to discuss organizing a union. That group later filed their application to form a union on January 24th, 1973. This event was the first of many AESES has planned throughout our Golden Jubilee to recognize our 50th Anniversary. We plan to host several events with our membership and charitable fundraising activities including a big social party in June to which everyone from CCU is invited!
Chris McCann, VP UM-Bannatyne Melissa Blonjeaux and I met with UM President Michael Bennaroch and outgoing AVP-HR Darlene Smith on December 13 where among other items we discussed remote work for the future. We pointed out that while many members have the option of working two days per week at home that this is not uniformly applied to all members. The ability to work from home correlates to being in a higher paying position resulting in our lowest paid members often having less or no access to being able to work from home, and are therefore more likely to incur the increased costs of working on campus.
The AESES Executive Council has been asked to participate in UM’s five-year strategic planning process. This is the first time AESES has been directly invited. We will continue with regular high-level meetings between AESES and President Bennaroch roughly every six months like we have arranged with The University of Winnipeg (UW) President, Todd Mondor.
We were deeply saddened to report the passing of Paul Hazelton on December 25, 2022. Paul was at the original meeting to organize the union which became AESES over 50 years ago. He joined the Board as soon as we formed in May of 1973 and served on the Board continuously for the next 41 years until his retirement. Paul came to Canada in 1971 from Missouri and as a man of principle kept with him his “Handbook for Conscientious Objectors.” He earned a Ph.D. in Virology from UM in 1998. Paul played a part in managing the AESES 51-day strike in 1975, along with many other important roles including serving as President between 1975 – 1978. Paul was truly a distinguished member of AESES and served our union for over 50 years. Paul will be greatly missed.
On January 16, the AESES office welcomed Leanne Shumka as the new Member Services Officer. Leanne brings with her many years of knowledge and experience working with the union as a Board Representative, as Vice-President UW on the Executive Council and other committees throughout the years. This new role will join our Labour Relations Team of Lorne Hilton and Colleen Thompson and will help with the increased issues and questions that are being experienced by members over the past two and a half years of this pandemic.
Laurie Morris, Past President of AESES, after 41 years at the UM is retiring this year and her last day in office was January 30. The Department of Philosophy held a retirement party on February 3rd where many friends and colleagues gathered to thank her for her dedicated service and wish her well for the future. Laurie’s last official day will be in April and she will remain on the AESES Board until then and will definitely be at the social in June!
Team AESES will be a part of the Coldest Night of the Year on February 25, raising funds for St. Boniface Street Links which works to end homelessness, reduce poverty and support crime prevention through social programs. You can support our walk by visiting aeses.ca/coldestnight or registering your own team at cnoy.org/ to walk and support programs in your community.
Executive Vice-President, AESES