Caut Dedicated Service Award


 Cindy Trudel and Darlene Brodeur displaying their awards.

At the AUFA general meeting of January 19, 2016, the CAUT Dedicated Service Award was presented to Darlene Brodeur and Cindy Trudel. Making the presentation via Skype was John Eustace, former Chair of the English and Theatre Department and former chief negotiator for AUFA, now working as an assistant executive director for CAUT in Ottawa:

It is my great pleasure to be online with you from Ottawa today to present the CAUT Dedicated Service Award to two very deserving recipients, and two of my favourite people, Darlene Brodeur and Cindy Trudel. I can say without any equivocation that these two people have given exceptional service to the Acadia University Faculty Association.

I’ll begin with Darlene Brodeur. I’d like to start with some words we could use to describe Darlene: articulate, focussed, scrupulous, courageous, but above all, principled and self-sacrificing. Darlene has worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of the faculty hired after her. She is known for taking principled stances on every issue she tackles. In the interest of the membership and natural justice, she helped transform the association’s moribund grievance officer position into the much more robust grievance committee structure that AUFA currently has. And then she served the membership courageously during very trying times as the Senior Grievance Officer on that newly formed committee. As a member of the negotiating team for the 14th Collective Agreement, she kept me and the team focussed on principles. It’s important to acknowledge here that she cut her sabbatical short to serve the membership on that team. Ask yourself how many of you would do the same. And I don’t think I that I would be overstating things if I were to say that Darlene was our team’s principled conscience: I’m telling you—and I know the team would back me up on this—you could not have asked for a more courageous defender of equity. Darlene’s commitment to equity was unwavering and, I think, one of the principal reasons our equity language didn’t take a serious hit when the employer came to the table looking for concessions. Perhaps the clearest indication of her self-sacrificing nature—besides, again, cutting her sabbatical short—is that, after enduring one of the longest and most difficult rounds of bargaining AUFA has seen, she didn’t take a break, though she certainly deserved one. Instead, Darlene accepted the nomination to be the Vice President of AUFA, which as you all know is a commitment to be AUFA’s next president and often to be its next past-President.

 Cindy Trudel. Since I started with words we could use to describe Darlene, I’m going to do the same with Cindy. And, while the words that describe Darlene could also be used to characterize Cindy, I think she deserves her own as well: tenacious, fearless, tireless, generous, loyal, tough but remarkably kind-hearted. Cindy’s nomination for the CAUT Dedicated Service Award was something of a landmark: she is in fact the first part-time faculty member of AUFA to receive the award. As I’m sure all of you know, she has recently been converted to full-time after many years of tireless and tenacious advocacy for part-timers. I have absolutely no doubt that part-time faculty can rely on her to continue that advocacy. Generously, while working as an underpaid part-timer, Cindy gave countless hours of her time serving the university and her colleagues in AUFA on some of the most difficult committees. I’m not going to give you an exhaustive list here, just some highlights. She served on several AUFA Executives, as both a member at large representing part-timers, but also as treasurer. She served on the pension committee even though she wasn’t going to be receiving a pension herself. And, of course, she was an indispensable member of two negotiating teams where she gained a reputation for gently but thoroughly and successfully challenging BoG math (Mary McVicar’s math in the financial reopener and Peter Williams’ math in the 14th. If you want a clear indication of fearlessness, think about the fact that this vulnerable part-time faculty member challenged her Dean at the bargaining table and proved him wrong). Both teams on which she served absolutely relied on her expertise at reading financial statements, crunching numbers, and costing proposals. But we also relied on her kind-hearted gestures, like bringing the team’s spirits up with puppy therapy, occasionally bringing her dogs into caucus to brighten the long, dark, and difficult days.

If there is a word missing from the two lists with which I began my brief statements about both of these AUFA members, it is the word that characterizes the award they receive today: “Dedicated.” I am truly honoured to have had the opportunity to serve with such dedicated members of the Acadia University Faculty Association, and I ask you to join me in acknowledging their fine work and dedication.

                         --John Eustace