January 2018 – welcome back!
2017 for many of us had more than its compliments of mixed reviews. The economy remained quite forlorn for the most part, oil never broke the $ 60 mark and a billionaire businessman became the 45th United Sates President, which sent shock waves half way around the world. The summer here in Alberta was probably one of the warmest we have experienced in several years, which gave us some resolve to ready ourselves for winter. Will 2018 bring a surprising uplift to our financial restraints, will our fragile economy have a resurgence of growth, and will those forty thousand plus jobs Minister Joe Ceci vehemently swore existed be the beginning of an upward trend, or will we have to wait and see…again?
Although Calgary’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.3% from 7.8% in November, the employment market is inundated with part-time workers rather than the procurement of full-time positions. So does 2018 mean more belt tightening and a re- juggling of the family budget, as many of us face those conspicuous credit card bills that now litter our dining room tables, the aftermath of our “buy now pay later” Christmas spending spree? Moreover, what has become increasingly more evident, is the realization that our disposable income is being gradually exhausted. Which is perpetuated by the continuous upsurge in the cost of commodities, the increase of our income / property tax, and the insanity of the Carbon Tax. What is most disheartening is the lack of empathy demonstrated by SAIT in the absence of an increase in our annual salaries. Which leaves us feeling vulnerable and somewhat unappreciated.
As we brace ourselves for the unpredictable changes in the temperature, we will continue to remain optimistic that 2018 will be a year of resounding changes, on the economic front and in our personal lives. SAFA have resumed the negotiation process with big SAIT, and discussions are moving in a forward direction. Communication regarding negotiation outcomes will be shared with faculty at the end of the discussion sessions, via email. As we welcome 2018 with cautious optimism, we as faculty will remain committed to our responsibilities, and apply our skills and knowledge to the betterment of our students. We will embrace all new challenges, with a professional attitude, and remain vigilant of the Institutional climate and any impact on the instructional pool.
As we remain mindful of those “New Year” resolutions and goals, February for those die hard winter sports fans, will provide the opportunity to watch the Winter Olympic coverage from Pyeongchang in South Korea. For the “footie” enthusiast the World Cup of Soccer will be played in Russia, starting in June…maybe the perfect time to purchase a second television?
James McWilliams, SAFA President.