Non-Academic Staff Association
The Non-Academic Staff Association at the University of Alberta has its roots in the very beginnings of the University. At that time, servants of the University or “sub-staff” first began to provide the many services that keep the University running: from administrative support to lab assistance to library management. Today, there are over 4,000 Association members.
By the end of World War II, when the University entered a period of rapid expansion, no guidelines had yet been set to regulate wages, salaries, benefits, and even coffee breaks for support staff. Relations between the University and support staff were sometimes strained. The support staff realized that they needed to form an association so that they could bargain collectively for improved working conditions. In 1947, after considering information provided by the Canadian Congress of Labour, University support staff opted individually to join the already existing Civil Service Association of Alberta. Almost every support staff member signed on to the CSA and formed Branch 22 for staff in Edmonton and Calgary.
The Branch, however, lacked the power it needed to ensure that requested changes to working conditions were made. In 1963, employees from the University of Calgary opted out of Branch 22 and signed on with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). At the University of Alberta, staff remained with Branch 22 of the CSA, but it became apparent that CSA did not have much bargaining power with the University. The Board of Governors made it clear that it would rather deal with an on-campus organization. In 1969, the University of Alberta support staff formed their own association, the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA). CSA went on to become the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) and today represents most of the Alberta government employees.
NASA pushed, in 1969, for permanent seats on the Senate, the Board of Governors, and the General Faculties Council. However, it wasn’t until 1978 that NASA was able to have legal recognition as an employee organization. Based on the Public Service Employee Relations Act, NASA applied for independent status but was denied. The Board of Governors withdrew its recognition of NASA as a bargaining agent for support staff. Once again, employee organizations began campaigning on campus. NASA had to vacate the office space it had on campus and resubmit its application. In September 1978, NASA was successful and achieved legal status as an employee organization, a fight that had taken over 30 years.
Alberta legislation prohibits strikes and requires that disputes between the University and NASA be handled by arbitration, a process in which NASA has participated a number of times over the years. Today, NASA’s concerns follow the historical precedent—concerns for benefits, equity, job descriptions, security, wages, and employee grievances and negotiations.
NASA is a democratic organization whose Executive is elected. There are seven members of the Executive. Four are elected during even years and three during odd years, with each elected member serving for two years. There also is an elected chairperson who is an ex-officio member. The Executive is advised by a council.
NASA continues to work with other employee organizations, the University, and the government as it serves its mandate to promote the welfare of its membership and to present a positive image of NASA to the community.
|Presidents of the Non-Academic Staff Association|
|1992–1993||Kevan Warner (Acting)|
|1972–1975||Geoffrey W. Williams|
|1970–1972||Martin Van Kessel|
|1969||Robert M. Scott|
|Chairmen of the Non-Academic Staff Association|
|1968–1969||Philip Arnold (Chairman)|
|1965–1966||Les H. Rowe|
|1963–1964||Les H. Rowe|
|1947||Percy Beaumont (Temporary President)|