Thursday, February 17, 2011

VIU Strike Deadline Set

Vancouver Island University Faculty Association
Set March 4, 2011 As Strike Deadline

Nanaimo – The Vancouver Island University Faculty Association announced today that they have set a strike deadline of March 4, 2011. “The main issue in this strike is ensuring access to education for students. In spite of deep cuts for the past two years, and significant enrolment increases, the employer wants to cut more sections next year – and those sections were full this year,” said Dan McDonald, President of the Faculty Association. President Ralph Nilson announced last fall that he intends to cut 10% over the next three years.

The Faculty Association questions the rationale for the proposed cuts. Dominique Roelants, the Faculty Association’s Chief Personnel Steward, stated, “These cuts are going to affect the viability of popular programs that students want to take. Students won’t be able to stay in their community and complete – or in some cased even start - their studies at VIU.” He went on to note that, “from the perspective of faculty, these cuts make no sense. When you consider the significant loss in tuition fees, where are the savings coming from?” 

The Faculty Association believes that even if there were savings, these cuts to education go directly against the government mandate for VIU as a teaching university. McDonald added, “The mandate of VIU as a regional teaching university is to provide a comprehensive cross section of programs for students in the mid island – the 10% cut proposed by VIU President Ralph Nilson will destroy VIU’s ability to fulfill that mandate.”



  1. Concerned Student22 February 2011 at 17:28

    I would strongly encourage student to get behind your professors on this issue and whatever you do do not cross the picket lines! Our professors need our help and support!!!

  2. Teachers should get back to work, the only cuts were to to the social science departments where the classes are generally half full. Put the funding where it should go, like the business faculty.

  3. Your post has many problems "Anonymous." Teachers are working, the strike hasn't happened yet, the Social Science departments are not the only areas with incoming cuts and many of the preposed cuts to Sociology are for sections that were near full or had wait lists last year. VIU isn't a business college it is supposed to be a full service teaching university. That means offering a range of different courses, not just the courses you are interested in.

  4. Sociology is important, and cutting devalues social sciences as a whole. If they cut that, it will pave the way for cutting social sciences programs like anthropology, or psychology. But with tuition hikes(even though there is an increase the number of new students every year), HST, gas prices, the cost of parking and textbooks(if you can even afford all of them), and the shrinking amount of student funding available, who can afford post secondary education anyway.

  5. More funding to the business faculty? The last thing the world needs is more middle-managers and marketers who hug closely to 'business theory' without actually understanding the inner workings of businesses they work for. Just ask Borders what happened when they replaced their board of book-lovers with theory-thinking CEO types who thought selling books was the same business as selling groceries or designer clothes. Besides, doesn't VIU fund business enough already? You already have one of the nicest buildings, 2.5 computer labs to yourselves, and one of the widest selections and largest runs of classes of any faculty. All the sociology department wants is to be able to actually study here. Sheesh, greedy much?

    I'm a science and math kind of person, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize the importance of the humanities and social sciences and what they contribute to society. Universities were founded as a way to spread meaningful knowledge and ideas in order to better the state of humanity. If VIU cuts important yet unprofitable programs while pouring money into profitable programs which have dubious value for society and personal intellectual growth, then they'll become nothing more than a glorified trade school. There's nothing wrong with going to Ashton, but true universities offer a unique and necessary service to society. If the VIUFU needs to fight to make sure that keeps happening then so be it.

  6. Why are you guys supporting this strike? We have a right to our education. We've all invested a lot of time and money into our education. The government doesn't have any money, so we're not going to get any more money from them. From I hear the teacher just want Job security. Welcome to the real world lay-offs happen. Economies go up and down. Do the teachers think they don''t have to go down with the rest of us.

    I do not support the faculty.
    And will be walking through the picket line tomorrow to pick up my books and study in the commons.
    Who's with me?

  7. [[Why are you guys supporting this strike?]]

    Anonymous — who's not so anonymous — it is good to see that you enjoy merely copying and pasting the same (half-assed) response on every available forum. Forgive me, but for the sake of brevity, I will have to copy and paste the response I already posted elsewhere:

    ...Care to explain to me why the VIUFA has gone without a renewed contract since April of last year? And it is to my knowledge that administration has delayed negotiations and outright ignored negotiation opportunities. The VIUFA has also dropped more than three quarters of its proposals in an effort to get to a settlement. That does not seem like behaviour of a group that thinks they are above anyone, in the sense that they certainty don't seem to think that "they don't have to go down with the rest of us".

    Moreover, according to Dan McDonald, the faculty are not NECESSARILY opposed to layoffs: the "the union wants the current language strengthened so that faculty reductions could not take place UNLESS the university declares a financial crisis".


    Which brings up THE issue, the main question that needs answering: WHY is it "[not] economically feasible for the university to keep teachers on staff". What events have lead to the current situation? Less government funding, yes — not much the faculty or administration can do about that. But it seems to me that layoffs ought to be a last resort. After all, what IS a university without the professors?

    The last thing we need is VIU becoming a rent-seeking institution, which is why before laying off anyone it seems prudent to first address why there have been compensation for administrators — up 40% over the last four years — while administration cuts full sections. Even if we all agree that cuts need to be made, we still need to justify what cuts to make.


    You "hear the teachers just want job security", but maybe you should do some research into the matter before taking a definite stance. The links above address the VIUFA's official position.

    Hearsay gets us nowhere in these kinds of situations.

  8. It's brutal that students are in support of this strike. The economy is in slow motion and it doesn't help that our liberal leader would like to focus on poverty when our health care and education is on the fringe. The students are being taken advantage of which is totally unfair and should be illegal. It is hard enough for students to pay their bills, keep up on studies and assure that tuition is paid one way or another. Sure some students and faculty might lose their programs but the cuts have to be made, or the students and faculty in other programs will suffer in the future. We need to learn how to accept our losses and deal with it, or I guess we could just overthrow the government...

  9. This blog is providing misleading information to garner support for people that have no care for their job or the students. Once again students are the pawns in yet another union organized strike to force employers into signing off on unreasonable and unrealistic requests. The big issue amongst other issues is the union demanding a no layoff policy. This us just retarded and typical of union mentality. On more way to cut off the employers ability to get rid of dead weight, reduce labour when enrollment diminishes, or scale back labour to economize. Students should have a right to class action unions for breach of contract. Students have paid the university and staff to provide a service which is obviously not being provided.

    Funny why people wonder why Wisconsin is attempting to remove collective bargaining. High time union members get a reality slap and join the real employment world.

    As for those that beleive they have a right to tell an employer when or how to conduct their business I pose the question where do you get off trying to control someone else's business. Build your own and run it any way you want.

  10. The problem is the union policy on lay-offs. Currently it is the least senior faculty who automatically get laid off. This is horse crap. The VIU administration should be able to give lay-off notice to those who deserve it - stale, dead weight profs who are milking the system and don't care about teaching excellence. VIUFA change how job security is granted - make your members accountable and work for security. Noone should have job security only based on the fact that they have worked at VIU for so long.

  11. I did my part for the budget. I quit.


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