New Year, New Website, New…Government?
If you’re like me, you probably saw a lot of social media posts, commentary, and memes floating around the internet talking about how terrible a year 2016 was. They don’t need to be repeated, but I want to take a look at some of the good things that happened here at FPSE in 2016 and look ahead to the coming year.
We had record participation at our Spring Leadership Conference last February, where FPSE members and activists gathered to hear a compelling keynote by Brock University’s Labour Studies expert Dr. Larry Savage on the importance of strengthening faculty unions. This talk was supplemented by a series of skill-development workshops.
Our Annual General Meeting and Convention in May refocused members’ commitment to our Open the Doors campaign. We also highlighted the need to organize and to address the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Campaign.
Alongside the ongoing work of providing labour relations and advocacy support to all our member locals, Open the Doors was our primary strategic initiative in 2016 and remains so in 2017. Last fall, we collected over 10,000 Education Pledges from British Columbians who share our passion for the power of post-secondary education. We boosted our social media following for both FPSE and Open the Doors. We held an Education Contest that saw over 300 post-secondary students submit their stories about what matters to them in their pursuit of higher learning. The contest was followed up with an overwhelmingly successful Gala event to award prizes to the contest winners.
We had information tables at the Harrison Hot Springs CLC Winter School campaign fair for four weeks last winter, as well as at the Surrey Fusion Fest in July, the BC Federation of Labour’s Labour Day event at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, and the Union of BC Municipalities’ conference in Victoria in September. We marched in the Vancouver Pride Parade as part of the BC Federation of Labour’s Multi-Union Pride entry. We supported two of our ETEA bargaining units on picket lines, and while one of those ended in severe disappointment, we’ve been able to provide ongoing labour relations support in the aftermath.
For FPSE, 2016 was a year of raising our profile for our members and the labour movement as a whole and a year of increasing public awareness of the funding crisis in post-secondary education and the need to invest in the public system. Just after Labour Day, we launched a 30 second TV ad that was seen over five million times on TV and over a million times online. We got a lot of media attention about issues that concern faculty, staff, and students!
We’re even more excited about 2017. I’m pleased to announce that FPSE has a new website! It’s clean and bright, it’s easier than ever to find what you’re looking for, and it’s finally mobile friendly! If you haven’t checked it out already, take a look around and let us know what you think!
Later this month, we have a Secondary Scales Conference, bringing together local presidents, chief negotiators, non-regular faculty members, and staff to work on strategies for addressing secondary scales in the next round of bargaining. February will bring together committee members and activists for our annual Spring Conference. And right through the spring, we’ll be ramping up our Open the Doors campaign activities as we lead into the May 9th provincial election. Talk to your local president about how to get involved in local campaign activities, and if you’re not doing so already, make sure you follow both FPSE and Open the Doors on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be showcasing student and faculty stories on the FPSE Facebook page. Share your story with us too!
With only five months to go until the election, your involvement in our campaign is more important than ever. Let’s make 2017 the year that we get political parties and voters all talking about the importance of investing in post-secondary education. Just to remind us all of how much our work matters, I’m pleased to share this video with you. Pass it along to your friends, family and colleagues!
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.