Message on the Budget from NASA President Elizabeth Johannson

Yesterday’s provincial budget delivered harsh cuts to post-secondary education across the province. President Turpin shared on The Quad that the impact to the University of Alberta will be a $44 million cut to UofA’s share of the Campus Alberta Grant in the current fiscal year, as well as a $35 million cut to infrastructure maintenance.

We have been hearing loudly and clearly from members across all campuses who are angry and members who are frightened about the potential impacts to their ability to provide for their families. As we learn more information about how the UofA will respond to these challenges we will be sharing that information with members. We know that there has been informal restraint happening across our campuses, now the University will have to make a more formal and public plan for the way forward. As they do that work, NASA will be doing all we can to deliver the message that support staff should not be made to bear the brunt of these cuts. Any potential cuts to support staff would have a serious effect on the University’s ability to deliver its mandate of excellence in teaching, learning, and research. They would also create untenable pressure on our members. After years of restraint, workers are stretched to their limit.

We will be part of delivering the message to government that cuts to post-secondary, and other cuts to public services, will damage our province. The current government ran on a platform of not harming front-line services, yet their budget will do just that. Our members rely on those public services, to treat their illnesses, educate their children, and sustain the quality of life that Albertans expect, and we are providers of the service of educating young Albertans. Over the past few years NASA has worked to strengthen our relationships with other unions in the province so that we can all support each other. This means a shared vision of a province that delivers quality services delivered by workers who earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

NASA remains at the table negotiating a new Collective Agreement. While we are bargaining, the old Collective Agreement remains in effect. Senior University leadership have indicated to us over the past few months that they believe in working together to seek out creative solutions. We take them at their word and will hold them to delivering on that commitment.

Communication with NASA members will be vital over the coming period. We will be doing our best to keep you updated, and we need to hear from you as well. It is important that NASA aligns our message and strategy with the priorities of our members on the ground. In only a few days close to one thousand of you filled out our Pre-Budget Survey, and many indicated that you are willing to personally advocate by letter-writing, attending rallies, or taking other actions. That survey remains open and we encourage everyone in the Bargaining Unit to share your perspective with us by clicking here.

The support staff at the University of Alberta are second to none in their skill, commitment, and passion for the work they do and the role the University plays in a healthy society. NASA is committed to advocating for you!  

In solidarity,

Elizabeth Johannson
NASA President