Welcome to Our Union!

Message from NASA President Elizabeth Johannson

The campuses are humming as students return and we all gear up for a new academic year. This is a busy and exciting time for all of us. Support staff are working hard to welcome students, ensure students can navigate the campuses and programs, and providing the infrastructure and facilities to support them.

Speaking of welcomes, I was honoured to be able to attend the welcome ceremony for the Sweetgrass Bear, a large stone sculpture which has been installed in the Quad on North Campus. The bear is part of the University's efforts to work toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and reminds us that we are all treaty people. I will also be attending the Building Reconciliation Forum, which the University is hosting at the end of the month.

In our new collective agreement, we agreed to have the Support Staff Benefits Committee review the benefits plans in preparation for the Year 3 wage and benefits reopener. We are examining a proposal to jointly hire an outside consultant to perform statistical analysis on the current drug plan usage. These consultants have pharmacists on their team with extensive knowledge of drug plan issues. It is important that we have accurate information and projections to inform our discussions going forward. We are very mindful of that fact that the drug plan changes last January caused many problems for our members. The backend programming issues at SunLife have been corrected, but if anyone out there is still having problems they should contact the University benefits advisors and/or NASA.

Your Treasurer and finance committee have also been very busy preparing a discussion paper about dues, which will be released later this month. This will be accompanied by information forums to ensure there is extensive opportunity for questions and feedback which will inform the finance committee's subsequent recommendations.

I have been continuing to go out for President worksite visits. This is a chance for me to visit with small groups of members over their lunchhour, to answer questions and hear feedback. If you are interested in having a casual visit in your area, just email nasa@ualberta.ca with "worksite visit" in the subject line.

I hope everyone has a fulfilling and productive year. Thanks for all the work you do that makes this University great!