“BUGM” has nothing to do with insects

January 17, 2012

This is an article in a series by the Teacher Welfare program area of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Notice to Teachers

A Bargaining Unit General Meeting will be held [date], at …

The above notice is one that all teachers in Alberta should watch for over the next few months. Notices will be sent by e-mail or posted in school staff rooms.

Attending a Bargaining Unit General Meeting (BUGM) should be at the top of every teacher’s to-do list. Why?

Your Economic Policy Committee (EPC) comprises teachers elected from schools in your area. Your EPC has been preparing a list of issues to present to your employer for the next round of negotiations. Issues could include salary, benefits, working conditions and other concerns raised by your colleagues through surveys and focus groups. It is important that you attend these meetings to ensure that your opinions are heard and your priorities are addressed. The EPC’s goal is to represent members’ needs, and the only way it can do that effectively is if members make their needs known. Make your participation in this process a priority.

Future BUGMs will include voting on actions to be taken during negotiations. These ­decisions could include such actions as supporting a specific direction, accepting or rejecting the school board’s offer, directing your Negotiating Subcommittee (NSC) or considering strike action. Each decision is debated and voted upon. Only members in attendance can vote—the greater the attendance, the better the decision and the stronger the message.

Exercise your democratic right. Influence the direction of negotiations by making your opinions heard. Attend all the BUGMs held in your school jurisdiction.