Jan 122014

This is exciting and nothing I bargained for when I bargained for the Writer-in-Residence job at the University of New Brunswick, but it seems possible/probable (you never know with negotiations) that the faculty bargaining unit at the university will go on strike tomorrow. At noon, I think. As Writer-in-Residence, I am betwixt and between; I am not a member of the bargaining unit and thus am not going on strike. But, of course, Mark Jarman and Rob Gray (NC at the Movies), my roomies on Waterloo Row, and many other friends will be on the picket line.

I have been getting emails and instructions. (And, really, I may have some of this wrong.) It seems that if the strike proceeds, the university email system will shut down (at noon). I am getting a flurry of emails from colleagues sending me alternate email addresses. This got me excited; I started sending out alternate email addresses myself. I’m going underground.

I’ve been instructed that, though the faculty is on strike, my classes will continue (this was a general instruction to non-faculty faculty, temporary instructors, etc.). This doesn’t really affect me since I don’t conduct classes; I only have meetings with students and members of the public in my office on campus. I was also told that I should be able to cross the picket line without any trouble but that I didn’t have to cross the picket line if I felt threatened or in danger. There is a lengthy instruction sheet about this. I have visions of large scale labour violence based on too many Hollywood movies. The video at the top is from John Sayles Matewan. The one below is the trailer for The Molly Maguires.

I mean my humour here to be gently ironic and not disrespectful. I am mostly surprised at the turn of events. I used to belong to a journalists’ union when I worked at the Montreal Star (in ancient times), and I recall the pleasant sense of security it gave me to be affiliated with a large group of people and colleagues who took my working rights seriously. I wish all my friends well.

Here is Rob’s Twitter feed. @rw_gray

And here is his Facebook wall.

Here’s the AUNBT Facebook Page (a good place for keeping up).

Here’s the AUNBT site.

And here’s the Community Support Page on Facebook.


  8 Responses to “Out & Back: Exciting Times As My Writer-in-Residence Gig Takes A Dramatic Twist”

  1. I wish non-faculty faculty and adjuncts in the US would organize and strike. Time for solidarity! Can you announce a place for students and the public to meet with you off-campus or is it impossible to get the word out?

    • Yes, quite easily done. I am in an odd position. The university actually only pays a portion of my salary. The rest comes from the provincial and federal governments. At least half the writers I meet are not students at the university.

  2. They just announced all classes will be suspended if there is a strike. Stay under ground. And a whole update and no mention of ballet dancers? Disappointed.

    • Well, the ballet dancer thing took place at such a distance and was so, well, disappointing that I haven’t the heart to mention it. Though I suppose you force my hand, as it were.

      I put up your FB wall address and Twitter address so readers can follow the situation.

  3. I believe the strike actually takes effect at 12:01 am tonight / tomorrow. When you get back, you, me, and Lucy can drive by in a nice warm car and wave encouragingly at the picketers. (-:

  4. Viva la revolucion

    • As of 12:01 am, Jan. 13, the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers (AUNBT) has withdrawn their services to the university, exercising their legal right to strike.

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