The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) voted to stand in solidarity with Concordia’s library employees, who have clashed with the university over changes to their pension payments since January 2018.
The vote took place during ASFA’s first meeting of the semester, on Sept. 19.
“A lot of arts and science students are very dependent on library services to complete their degree[s],” said ASFA member Thomas David-Bashore, who brought the motion forward. “I think it makes a lot of sense for us to support the employees that make this possible.”
Beginning in March of last year, the Concordia University Library Employees Union (CULEU) expressed concern after new Quebec legislation increased their pension contributions from 20 to 45 per cent. According to union president Kent Cluff, the change contradicts a deal that was made between the union and the university, which insured an annual pay increase to library employees for three years. In a letter published in The Link and The Concordian, Cluff claimed that library staff “have been forced to take a major pay cut.”
Concordia spokesperson Mary-Jo Barr responded in an email, stating that “all employees received annual salary increases” as agreed upon.
Formal negotiations regarding the issue are yet to occur — in an update published to the CULEU website on June 5, Cluff wrote that the positions of the university and the CULEU remain “very far apart.” ASFA has agreed to collaborate with the CULEU in their quest to increase pressure tactics and mobilize negotiations by aiding in the distribution of promotional materials such as pins and posters.
Photo by Alex Hutchins