University of New Brunswick professors’ union AUNBT felt the love on Friday – over 1 million dollars of it.
At a solidarity rally and march on Friday, the union received a donation of $1 million from the Canadian Association of University Teachers Defence Fund. They also received over $12,000 in additional donations from other faculty unions from across the country.
“It’s a wonderful show of support. We’ve been going to these sorts of occasions at other faculty associations for years now,” said Miriam Jones, president of the AUNBT.
Though it sounds like a lot of money, Jones said the money will be used towards professors’ strike pay as well as helping pay both the university’s and union’s health benefits.
“What happens when there is a strike [is that] the employer stops paying. And since they’re not paying us, the deductions don’t get taken off. So the union has the right to ask the employer for permission because we’re not the policy holders.”
Originally, the university wasn’t going to allow the union to pay the employer benefits, however an agreement was made to allow it.
“[The money’s] not going to last that long, so I hope we get back to the table,” Jones said.
The donations totaling over $12,000 came from faculty unions from across the country, many of which had representatives fly out for Friday’s rally and march.
The New Brunswick Nurses Union was also one of the donors.
“We’re not just here because we’re selfish – I need those nurses from that faculty. We need them in the work places. We need to get them!” said NBNU president Marilyn Quinn, to cheers from the crowd.
“But we’re here to support of all the faculties, and we wish you well . . . and we’ll be with you on the picket line.”
Jones said the two chief negotiators for the union and the university met Friday morning, but no time has been set to continue negotiations.
“It’s sounds like they’re not unwilling to talk to us, but they don’t have a mandate to negotiate with us, essentially,” Jones said.
“People are talking, it’s not that there’s anger . . . but it’s a question of coming together and discussing how we’re going to move forward.”