November 16, 2017
Some ASMs have let us know that they saw a recent Negotiating News sent out from the MUNFA Negotiating Committee as overly critical of the need for, and construction of, the Core Science Facility (CSF), and the Animal Resource Centre. We appreciate the feedback received from MUNFA members. It was not our intention to criticize the need for these facilities, but to highlight how this large expenditure contradicts the university’s claim that we are under an ‘austerity regime.’
MUNFA is very aware of, and concerned about, the crumbling infrastructure in which many ASMs work. The issues that we face include both the recent cuts by the government to the university’s operating budget by over 20%, and the choices the administration is making about how and where to spend these ever-shrinking monies.
Here’s what we know:
- Of the estimated total cost of $325 million for the CSF, only $125 million is covered by federal and provincial infrastructure money. By 2020, MUN will take on a $200 million mortgage on the CSF – probably $10-20 million per year – a cost that must come out of the already reduced operating budget. We do not question the need for the new building, but rather the way in which it has been financed and the affect this has on all of our members (see https://gazette.mun.ca/campus-and-community/building-the-future/).
- Recently the university has failed to make $50 million in special payments to the MUN pension plan that are required under the pension legislation (see http://munfa.ca/the-situation-with-our-pension-plan/).
- MUN is already burdened by a $9.5 million mortgage on the old Battery Hotel [source: Registry of Deeds – CADO (Companies and Deeds Online)]
- MUN paid a $1.2 million out of court settlement on a statement of claim in August, 2017, while reneging on the $1.2 million committed to MUNFA for a childcare centre at Grenfell Campus during the last round of collective bargaining [source: ATIPP Request: 003-18-01-17].
Your Negotiating Committee is concerned that both the government’s actions, and the university’s choices, will damage the future of quality, public education in NL. We urge the university to be honest and transparent in how and why they make these important fiscal choices, and their collateral impact on the university’s core mandate.
We welcome your feedback on negotiations.
MUNFA’s Negotiating Committee:
- Jon Church (Chief Negotiator), Medicine
- Dan Duda, Library
- Alison Coffin, MUNFA Executive Officer (non-voting)
- Robin Durnford, Grenfell Campus
- George Jenner, Earth Sciences
- Kurt Korneski, History
- Leroy Murphy, Cooperative Education Coordinator, Business
- Dave Peddle, Grenfell Campus
- Nathalie Pender, Grenfell Campus
- Nicole Power, Sociology
- Richard Rivkin, Ocean Science