(Ottawa – January 6, 2022) The Concordia University Edmonton Faculty Association (CUEFA) went on strike this week over pay and working conditions, becoming the first academic staff association to strike in Alberta’s history.
“We have bargained since the late spring of 2021 and plan to continue bargaining in good faith to push the administration to improve the workloads and pay of all of our members,” said CUEFA President Glynis Price.
The CUEFA represents 82 full-time professors, librarians, placement coordinators and lab instructors at Concordia, who began picketing on Tuesday morning after the two sides failed to come together on a new collective agreement.
"We're saddened that the administration has refused to budge and would rather disrupt students' lives and add to their stress by jeopardizing their winter term," said Price. "But we will not give up on proposals that are about delivering high quality education and research and preserving the tight knit community the administration claims to value but that the instructional staff actually deliver."
Students joined picket lines this week in Edmonton and rallied behind the job action through social media posts. More than 450 people have sent letters to Concordia University's President in support of the strike, and CUEFA is receiving letters of solidarity and cheques from across the country. Other academic staff associations across Alberta have pledged active support, and so have non-academic unions from both the public and private sector, including the Alberta Federation of Labour, which is mobilizing support and helping with fundraising.
CUEFA members voted on a strike mandate last November, with 90 per cent voting in favour. The Faculty Association submitted a formal notice to strike to the university administration in late December and continued to push for a fair deal for its members over the holidays.
The University recorded a surplus of $11.5 million in 2021, higher than the prior year’s $7.8 million surplus, and recently spent $1.75 million to purchase a century-old mansion in Edmonton. CUEFA is questioning the administration’s decision to acquire a historic mansion “instead of investing in students' education, paying faculty fair and competitive wages, and refocusing resources on academic staff recruitment and retention.”