MRSAY! Newsletters

MRSAY! Newsletter June 2017 EDITION

 In this Edition:

  • President’s Message
  • MRSA General Meeting info
  • MRSA Collective Agreement: Position Abolishment
  • Coffee with the Presidents: Cancelled
  • Canada’s 150th Birthday: June 30 from 12:15-12:45 p.m. in the staff lounge
  • Karen’s Korner
  • MRU General info and events

Be sure to check the MRSA Events Google calendar often to stay informed about the various events and activities taking place on campus.

MRSAY! Editors and/or contributors
Baset Zarrug
Karen Hiebert

President’s Message-An Academic Year in Review

As we wrap up another academic year within the Association’s history (and MRU), our Association is about to celebrate its 40th birthday, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge all of our colleagues past and present who have served on the Executive Board and various committees.

Your current serving Executive Board colleagues would like to thank you for your continued trust and engagement with our Association. We hope that you think and reflect over the summer months on how you can get involved in our MRSA. The Association requires collective collaboration from us all to make it a stronger voice and advocate within the MRU community. “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” – James C. Collins

All of us need to make a conscious choice to attend MRSA meetings, open houses, and informal chats with MRU President David Docherty. Showing up for these events demonstrates great leadership, “strength is in numbers”.

We hope that you have a great summer with family and friends; we will see you in the Fall semester – take care.

-Baset Zarrug


MRSA General Meeting— (held May 24 11 a.m.-12 p.m.)

Approximately 90 staff attended our General Meeting in May. This year staff responded to the following questions with their table groups:
1- Why was it important for you to attend the meeting today?
2-What is the value of the Association to you?
3-What does the Collective Agreement represent to you?
4-Considering that you contribute member dues, what should be the MRSA’s top three priorities for the next two budget cycles?

We were very pleased with the tremendous amount of feedback submitted; our MRSA can only become stronger with member support!

Our members noted that they value the Association, are interested in negotiations updates, Essential Services Legislation and want to know what happens in MRU. They are pleased with many aspects of the MRSA including the EDT funding, hours of work, getting involved as Executive members, the salary grid, that the Association “gives us a voice” and “has your back”. And yes, even the need to increase revenues was noted.

Some of you may have already noticed the changes in the MRSAY! over the past few months as the Executive team attempts to address issues and needs at MRU and in providing more information and increased understanding of our Collective Agreement.

If you would like to see all of the questions and replies…please check the email sent to you on June 7 with the subject line “MRSA 2017 General Meeting Minutes”. You will find them included with the meeting minutes.

Just a mini update on negotiations progress… email will go out to all staff sometime in the next few weeks.


Your Collective Agreement (CA) –Position Abolishment

In doing a review, the MRSA has documented a total of seven MRSA job abolishments in various areas of MRU since Feb of 2016; three of which occurred this year.
We endeavor to support MRU as much as possible as the Institution encounters financial constraints and organizational changes, but at no time will we ever allow an MRSA member to be abolished without a full accounting from the department. Human Resources works exactly the same way.

What an abolishment means—the job is no longer there for the staff member…typically due to a restructuring of the department. Consequently, the position is not permitted to be posted for a minimum of 3 years.

Some common staff misconceptions are:
—–a job gets abolished because a boss doesn’t like you.
—–I am asked to work overtime and if I claim for it I will be abolished
—–if I am sick too often I will be abolished
—–if I have medical appointments too often I will be abolished
—- poor performance

Job abolishments are hard on the staff member involved, the coworkers, the supervisor, the Manager, Chair, and even the Dean. No one wants to lose staff for any reason, it is not a decision made lightly and is questioned thoroughly by both Human Resources and MRSA, once we are informed. No staff member should ever fear a job loss due to poor performance for example, as this issue is dealt with in other ways under our Collective Agreement.

MRU stands firm in its commitment to staff who have lost their position due to abolishment in strongly encouraging them to apply for any posting they are qualified for at MRU, and we do have staff who have been rehired to a new role after abolishment.

Please be aware that an MRSA Executive member attends each time a job abolishment occurs. First and foremeost, we are there to ensure that the position abolishment meets with criteria to be an actual abolishment; but later, during the meeting, as a support for the staff member.

As we look back through the years and see how technology has changed our world and workplace, it is no wonder that position abolishments do occur occasionally. That does not negate the upset or the pain for the ones involved, and the unrest for the ones left behind.
Hopefully this sheds some light on this unpleasant topic.


Coffee with the Presidents: Unfortunately, an engagement offsite has caused President David Docherty to cancel this month’s meeting.
We hope to resume our informal meetings with the President in September.


Canada’s 150th Birthday party at our staff lounge!!!
Drop on by our staff lounge on Friday June 30 as we celebrate our amazing country from 12:15-12:45 p.m.
This is our 5th annual event and each year it gets bigger…but this year WOW!!! We have a lot to celebrate. Wear your Canadian pride proudly….We will be wearing red to celebrate and we hope you will too! Lots of fun items at the dollar stores so have a peek and come prepared to have some fun as we cheer on Canada. We will have cake, cookies and of course…Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Plus we have some very special gifts as door prizes this year. As is our tradition, a large Canadian flag will be the “big” prize again this year.



May’s  Question–our loonie has been referred to as the “lucky loonie”….where did that Canadian lore originate?

May’s answer—-


YES!!! Some of you remembered that the Lucky Loonie started with the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics!!! One Canadian rink helper secretly placed our loonie at centre ice. (Did you know he originally placed a dime there but he needed something bigger.) A thin yellow dot was painted on the ice surface for the referees to see where to drop the puck. If you knew what to look for…you could see the loonie though. It was the best kept secret ever!! Both the Canadian women and men’s Olympic Hockey teams knew of the loonie and both teams went onto win Gold medals!!! The original lucky loonie now sits in the Hockey Hall of Fame.


Karen’s Korner

Welcome to summer!!! WOW!! Hard to believe that July is just around the corner with our modified work day (1/2 lunch and leave at 4 works SO nicely for me!)
It is so inspiring to see Canada getting so involved in our 150th birthday; there are so many events happening in our amazing country.
Have you heard of the“Canada C 3” journey? Basically it is a voyage of Canadians from “Coast to Coast to Coast”. “It is a 150 day expedition from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage” and it officially began on June 1. Check out for more information and to follow their incredible journey.
Even in Calgary the excitement is ramping up. I just learned that Olympic Plaza has changed the (ice rink) picture to commemorate our birthday. I know that Prince’s Island has a “Canada 150” monument set up; I can’t wait to get down there to see it and get a photo with it. There will be many events happening around our fair city, I encourage everyone to enjoy this important day in Canadian history.
I was in Grade 5 during our Confederation celebrations and they were so memorable….now a few blinks and it is 50 years later, and I am beyond myself with excitement for the big day and the year to follow. I do hope all Canadians hop on board to enjoy this major event in what will soon be just a history lesson to our children and grandchildren. Guess you could say I am a proud Canadian, I am the one who sings our National Anthem (sorry…I like the original best!) at all sporting events and yes, I even joined in during the Grad ceremony at MRU! AND if I were an NHL player, I would be the one singing loudly and proudly at each game! Got to say though….I am tone deaf, so sometimes I actually have to keep my vocal level down somewhat so as not to torment others!
Happy Birthday Canada!!! I do hope I have helped inspire our MRSA staff to be even prouder of their country with my trivia questions over the past few months. I hope to see you in the staff lounge on June 30.

Enjoy your summer, have fun, stay safe and hope to see you all again in the Fall!

Karen Hiebert


PS….The MRSAY! is taking the summer off too!!!

don't forgetJust a friendly reminder to check your myMRU Events Calendar (Home tab) frequently for upcoming MRU events, courses and workshops.

Recreation Registration

All of Recreation’s spring and summer activities are now available to view and wishlist! You can find all registration information here.





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