Dear Colleagues,

I thought I would bring you up to date with some budget related developments instead of waiting until the Annual General Meeting on April 20, especially now that the writ has dropped and we’re off to the polls on May 5.

ULFA has arranged informal meetings with representatives from the AUPE local on campus, ULSU and representatives from the APOs. We’ve used these opportunities to exchange information and discuss ways we might bring our concerns to a wider public. With the election call, the most promising avenue open to us seems to be that of using public candidate forums to raise the issue of the budget’s underfunding of PSE, and we expect to make common cause with a campaign initiative of the Students’ Union.

To date, letters we’ve sent to our MLAs and cc’d to various government ministers have received only one formal acknowledgement of receipt, that coming from Bridget Pastoor’s office. From the rest we’ve only had silence.

A noteworthy item relevant to the government’s plans for PSE is found in the actions of a working group spearheaded by Tim Grant, Deputy Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. This working group is examining the way in which public sector salaries are determined in other provinces, including the BC model known as PSEC (Public Sector Employers’ Council). PSEC is a creature of the BC government that negotiates with various public sector groups (nurses, universities and colleges, firefighters, etc.), bypassing intermediaries like Boards of Governors, and implements government salary expectations in contract talks.

Grant’s working group is expected to complete its work in mid-May. We will keep you apprised of any developments coming from this working group.