Letters to the Editors

ARC management

Dear Editors,

Re: “All aboard Queen’s ARC” (Nov. 27, 2009).

I was appalled in reading that 98 per cent of ARC fitness equipment is brand new and only 20 per cent of old equipment was reused from the PEC.

While not housing “individually mounted televisions on the workout machines and iPod docking stations,” most of the PEC’s fitness equipment that I’ve seen (well over 20 per cent) is in perfect working condition.

In a time when the Queen’s Centre is already $41 million over budget and the University is making 15 per cent cuts across all faculties, why are we wasting money replacing perfectly good equipment?

Furthermore, what about the harmful emissions (greenhouse gases included) that result from the energy used to manufacture and transport all this equipment? This doesn’t reflect well on the environmental sustainability commitments I keep hearing about.

I can only hope that the discarded equipment will be used or donated to somewhere that needs it.

Joshua Stein,
Sci ’09, ArtSci ’10

Staff contribution important

Dear Editors,

Re: Students: support your staff (Nov. 20, 2009).

We are writing in response to the concerns of James Simpson, ArtSci ’11, in his letter to the Journal on Nov. 27.

Staffs play a huge role in the success of this university. We also put in many volunteer hours to raise funds for Queen’s support of the Kingston community and our students.

Queen’s works because we do. With staff cuts looming, we worry about the effects a reduction in staff will have on university operations, learning and research.

Thank you for acknowledging “staff are essential and there’s no question they do an excellent job and should be respected and treated fairly,” but we part company with James everywhere else, especially when he asserts that Queen’s should do no more than the legal minimum in allowing staff to discuss our options for union representation.

Queen’s thrives on the exchange of ideas and discussion. That’s more than is “legally required” and it’s what makes a university a university.

Our campaign for a staff union is about having a voice in the decisions that affect us. It’s about much more than money. Our campaign evolved out of concerns about the way policies were being interpreted arbitrarily and inconsistently, increasing workloads and the manner in which some staff were being removed from their jobs.

At present, there’s little staff can do to enhance or secure better redeployment policies, grievance procedures, benefits, salary and job security in the effective way unionized employee groups can. We believe that, as Queen’s re-organizes in the days, months, and years ahead, union representation is the only effective way for staff to achieve equality, respect and fair treatment.

Collective bargaining can help us have the say we deserve in our working lives. Staffs are committed to Queen’s and we want to continue making a meaningful contribution.

Having an equal voice means we can improve the employee-employer relationship. We can ensure policies are consistently applied, that staff are fairly compensated and morale maintained so that we can serve the community with the kind of spirit Queen’s is known for.

Maureen Bartram, Centre for International Relations
Carol Johnson, Faculty of Law
Jeanette Parsons, Equity Office
Mark Publicover, Department of Geography

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