Stephen Law wins two major awards for collective bargaining work (media release)

For immediate release

Mount Allison faculty member wins national and provincial awards for contributions to collective bargaining and academic trade unionism

The year 2019 will be one of accolades for one faculty member at Mount Allison University, who after many years of effort will receive both national and provincial awards in the same month.

The Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) was recently informed that Dr. Stephen Law, who has been a member of Mount Allison’s Economics department since 2001, will be awarded both the Nicole Raymond Award of the Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations (FNBFA) as well as the Donald Savage Award, awarded every year by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). The official award ceremonies will occur on November 16th (FNBFA) in Fredericton and November 30th (CAUT) in Ottawa.

Nicole Raymond was a founding member of the FNBFA and Donald Savage was a long-time Executive Director of the CAUT.

In its nomination for the FNBFA award, the Mount Allison Faculty Association points out that Steve Law “has served on the MAFA Executive as President, Vice President, Past President, and Treasurer,” but that his greatest contribution has been in the area of collective bargaining. He has been on MAFA negotiation teams for six rounds and he is once again serving as Chief Negotiator in the current round of negotiations.

As signatories, Past President Jeff Lilburn and Executive Director Geoff Martin say in the nomination letter that “His innovations and dedication have changed both MAFA’s approach to bargaining and our members’ expectations about what can be achieved through contract negotiations.” They further observe that Steve Law has rejected received wisdom that said ‘we can’t  fix this’ or ‘we can’t  solve that’. The positive consequence of Steve Law’s focus on problem-solving has been a period of improvements in the terms and conditions of work for Mount Allison academic staff, both full-time and part-time.

The Donald Savage Award is a national award named for the long-serving Executive Director of CAUT, focusing particularly on collective bargaining, and has been won in past years by nominees from all over the country.

In his letter, Andrew Irwin, now at Dalhousie University and formerly of Mount Allison’s Math and Computer Science department, credits Steve Law for convincing him that he should get involved. “Without a positive culture and clear demonstrations of the importance of the work and how the work could be done, I would have been much less likely to be involved. Steve works regularly to seek out new contributors to collective bargaining and is regularly responsible for asking and convincing faculty to join collective bargaining committees and teams.”

Other letter writers noted that Steve Law is highly strategic, thoroughly prepared, unflappable and understands the importance of distributing the benefits of negotiation to the entire membership.

“We are delighted that both CAUT and FNBFA decided to honour Steve Law this year, given his past, present and, we anticipate, future contributions to our organization and to the broader community,” says current MAFA President Matt Litvak.

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For more information contact Geoff Martin, Executive Director, MAFA, 506-364-2289, mafa@mta.ca