Saturday, February 04, 2006

KOOKY series: I'm a public servant?

Preface: So I've decided to make "KOOKY" into a little mini-series, one dedicated to comings and going, ins and outs of being a employee at UBC. The series will last as long as I'm working at UBC. I'll post when something catches my fancy and I feel like posting it up. None of this is intended to be informative, only musings, and hopefully somewhat entertaining. Onwards...

So I'm a public servant. I knew when I finally signed up as a full-time permanent employee back in December. However, it didn't really hit home until yesterday what that really means.

I am a part of an "Association". I still don't know exactly what that entails, except it's very similar to a union. They take association dues from us, but we don't get the right to strike. I'm sure there are more minor differences than just that, but that's what it means to me.

Anyways, yesterday there was an association meeting. I got to learn about "negotiation", "collective bargaining", "arbitration", "ratification". Frankly, my head's still reeling from all the big words, and I am hardly more informed now than I was last week.

The provincial government want to sign long term contracts with all the public sector groups for two reasons: 1) There is an election coming up in 2009 and 2) the Olympics in 2010 (the real biggie). Bottom line, they want stability. They've given the groups until March 31, 2006 to make up their minds and sign the contract. Really, not very much time. However this information is important to me as it affect my salary and benefits over the next four years.

I've never understood why some groups of people (eg office workers) are unionized. They don't need to be. I don't understand why my position is a part of an association (that is similar to a union). However, I think that being a part of a non-profit organization means that no one is going to look after us? Or we must represent ourselves in behalf of the government and the public? I suppose that must be it, but I still don't see why.

It's all very confusing, and it still doesn't warm me up to the whole unionized/association dealie. I for one believe that most unions should be a thing of the past. The unions of 100 years ago certainly had their place and purpose. But I believe that purpose has lost validity over time, yet they still exist.

Somehow, I don't think I'll ever have this resolved in my mind. Sigh.

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