General Meeting Report, November 7, 2013
Dear SFUFA Members:
Thanks to all of you who attended the General Meeting yesterday afternoon, and to those many more who wrote to indicate their interest and express regrets. The turnout was by far our largest in recent memory with 130 members attending.
Two motions were put to the meeting:
The first asked SFUFA to urge pension trustees to develop an optional fund divested from the fossil fuel industry. This motion passed overwhelmingly, and SFUFA will prepare a letter to pension trustees expressing the will of the meeting.
The second question was put forward by the SFUFA Executive, as previously announced, and read:
That over the next 12 months SFUFA educate and inform members about unionization and pursue certification under the Labour Code.
This motion generated extensive discussion representing a range of opinion, and was put to secret ballot.
The results of the vote are listed below. Please note that as the meeting allowed a vote by secret ballot of all in attendance, abstentions here refer to the number of attendees who did not cast ballots for or against the motion.
In favour – 100 votes
Opposed – 29 votes
Abstentions – 1 abstention
While the high turnout is encouraging, and indicates that members believe this to be an important question, the Executive is very aware that the majority of members were not in attendance, and have not yet communicated their thoughts on this issue to SFUFA. We will continue to reach out, to provide various fora for members to ask questions and express views, and will be discussing the concerns expressed and the suggestions for further outreach. We encourage all of you to share your thoughts with your colleagues and with the Executive Committee as we continue with this initiative.
The results of the vote are generally consistent with the feedback we have received to date through email correspondence and various member events, and clearly indicate that a significant number of faculty want SFUFA to pursue this matter further, and move towards a definitive vote on unionization. The Executive will act on that direction while continuing to encourage members on all sides of the debate to join in the discussion. This is, as we all know, a matter of some importance, and it is critical that the voices of all SFUFA members are heard. If members want to organize events to articulate particular opinions or address specific questions related to unionization, SFUFA will provide logistical support and assistance.
To reiterate the status of the certification issue to date:
The General Meeting has voted to support further discussion of certification with the intent to collect signatures from members who would like a formal vote on unionization. This step, of course, will only be initiated when and if it appears that a majority are in favour.
Members of SFUFA have NOT voted to certify as a union. That question, under law, comes to the members through a formal process, overseen by a third party, if and when at least 45% of members have signed cards requesting a vote. The discussion, then, is by no means over, but in fact just beginning.
Thanks again for all of your feedback, your time, and your participation in this matter. We look forward to an open and collegial discussion that includes all member voices.