A Period of Transition

A message from Doug Sprenger, CUPE 951 President.

I’ve been a CUPE 951 member for over 35 years and President of the Local since 1992. That’s a significant length of time to be in a leadership position and, when I was re-elected President in June 2013, I made the decision that it would be my final two-year term.

In 2003, UVic and the Union agreed to full-time Union leave from my PB10 Library Assistant position, which has been backfilled by a series of temporary appointments. The funding for the full-time leave has been 43% paid by the Union and 57% paid by UVic, based on the estimate that an average of 4 hours of each day the President would be off-the-job on paid leave to do Union business.

In discussions with UVic about the funding, it became apparent that at the end of my term of office as President that it would not be possible to return me to my PB10 Library position as it no longer exists.

As an alternative to being laid off and displacing another employee (which would then start a lengthy chain of bumps through the UVic Libraries), I’ve opted to retire from my full-time regular PB10 employment effective January 1, 2014 and accept severance.  It’s my expectation that this decision protects at least one other job from the budget cuts that are looming.

UVic has agreed to appoint me to a half-time temporary position from January 1, 2014 until June 30, 2015, funded by the Union, and to grant a half-time paid leave fully funded by UVic for our Vice President, Pat Shade, during the same time period to work in the Union office and attend meetings as “Acting President” when I am not on duty. This bargain protects the funding from UVic, which will now flow to Pat’s department Campus Security. The cost of my half-time President position is equivalent to the money the Union was already paying for my leave time and salary top-up and there is no cost to the Union for the half-time leave for our Vice President.

Our By-Laws state that the Vice President will “perform all the duties of the President in the absence of the President”.  Pat Shade has agreed to fill the void created by my reduction to half-time hours and I will work with Pat and our Chief Steward, Laurie Whyte, and all our Executive and Stewards to ensure that our members are well represented.

No one has a crystal ball about who will run for and be elected to the position of President of CUPE 951 in June 2015 and I invite all members who aspire to Union leadership positions to avail themselves of my knowledge and experience over the next 22 months.

This change of status was not anticipated when I stood for election this June, however I am now getting used to the notion of being “semi-retired” and I am dedicated to completing my term-of-office as your President, continuing to participate on our Negotiating Committee for 2014 bargaining, and mentoring other Executive members, stewards, and committee members.

I will also be able to fulfill my commitments as CUPE BC Regional Vice President for Vancouver Island and chair of the CUPE BC Universities and International Solidarity Committees.

It’s important during this period of transition to remember that what makes CUPE 951 such an effective Union is that we’ve strived to have a strong Executive and Steward system and involve members on our Committees.   It’s essential that my knowledge and experience is passed on to others and that the work I am currently doing is redistributed when I reduce hours in January 2014 and that the knowledge transfer has been effectively transitioned by the time I leave the position in June 2015.

My commitment is to work with every member of our Union to ensure the smoothest possible transition. When I leave the position I know we will have an Executive in place that can effectively lead our Union into the next decade.

Please email me at cupe951@yahoo.ca with your questions or concerns and I will do my best to respond to these in a subsequent listserv message to the membership mid September.   I also invite you to attend our September 25th General Meeting from 11:20-1:00 in University Centre A180 for a discussion of these changes.

Tagged on: