Message #8 to Our Members Re. COVID-19
From the AESES President’s home office:
I was asked to send a personal message to the membership to give some indication of everything AESES has been doing over the last 6ish weeks.
Before I do that, I want to reassure everyone that AESES is working hard to preserve your rights under our collective agreements and to provide support to any member who reaches out to us. Every message to our members that comes from AESES is created by a very hard-working team of people including Lisa McKendry, Exec. Director; Lorne Hilton, Labour Relations Officer and me. We are constantly consulting with the Executive Council as well. We endeavour to include whatever information is pertinent and factual at the time it is written. We are trying very hard to not give false hope or show negativity which has no basis in fact. We have been providing links to mental health supports, to COVID-19 information, to petitions protesting Pallister’s newest austerity measures, etc.
Since March 12th, AESES has formally met with the UM 4 times; with the UW 5 times and we have held 6 formal meetings of the Executive. We have sent letters to UW President Trimbee, UM President Barnard; UW HR Director Roberta Marsh; UM VP (HR) Darlene Smith; Premier Brian Pallister with copies to NDP Leader Wab Kinew, Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont and Kelly Johnson, President, CCU. The All Unions Committee at the UM met to discuss our common goals. We were included in an online meeting between the government and public sector unions and the follow-up meetings with the Partnership to Defend Pubic Services. This doesn’t include the many, many emails between the employers and unions, with members of the Executive, the Board, and various committees. We’ve also been dealing with members on employment matters not related to the COVID-19 situation as other work, and issues for our members, still continues. Finally, we created a new assistance fund which will be launched very shortly which will assist those of you who might be facing significant financial hardships as our employers move to meet whatever cuts will be imposed by the provincial government.
Like most of you, the AESES Office had to move to working remotely. And, we had to cancel everything from education seminars, various activities, the annual volunteers’ banquet, and more. The Annual General Meeting was postponed. Our meetings are being held remotely which has its own challenges. But, we are doing it … just like all of you.
In the midst of everything AESES has been doing, yesterday, we received a few emails to tell us about an event being advertised on Facebook. Someone had decided to have a car rally around the Legislative Buildings to protest Pallister’s intention to cut salaries and jobs at the Universities and other public sector unions. On Saturday, 6 cars made up the rally. By Sunday, about 60 cars joined in. And, every evening this week at 6:00 p.m. the rally continues. I think this is a fabulous idea and I am happy to let you all know about it. Information about the rally can be found on our Facebook page and through Twitter.
Thank you all for everything you are doing. We know how hard you are all working to keep your University running. We know how scared you are. We know that anxieties are running high. Please know that we are doing everything we can to support you and to fight for you with our employers and with our government.
Until our next message, I hope everyone stays healthy and safe.