Joey Hansen’s journey to being a seasoned non-profit manager and skilled negotiator began right here at SFU. He was quite active on campus, serving as a student representative on SFU’s Senate and as external relations officer and president of the Simon Fraser Student Society. He continued his advocacy work with the Canadian Federation of Students as National Treasurer and then as the president of CUPE local 2396.
After working at CUPE, Joey enrolled in Florida Coastal Law, where his studies focused on employment, labour, contract and corporate law.
“I always had an academic interest in labour and employment law, and here was an opportunity to go study US law for a few years, so I jumped at that opportunity.”
He returned to Vancouver to take up the role of executive director at AAPS after serving as the director of Higher Education at the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), which represents 20,000 university and college employees, including professional staff, faculty, and administrators.
AAPS represents over 5,000 members in collective bargaining and dispute resolution with UBC. Similar to APSA, AAPS supports the managers and professional employees at UBC through advocacy. They also create connections among their members through networking and professional development opportunities.
Joey notes that one of the association’s strengths has always been aggressively representing members and firmly asserting their members’ rights.
“Both AAPS and APSA work with the same legal counsel, Allan Black’s firm. And you know everyone at that firm is absolutely dynamite and a strong representative of workers’ rights.
“I think an area that we built on that has become a strength is when I started, AAPS was very executive director focused when it came to advocacy. We had talented staff here, but we weren’t using them to the best of their abilities.
“I think we have a much deeper group of folks now, and that’s let us take on things that we didn’t have the people power to do in the past. A few years ago, we launched eight human rights complaints to the BC Human Rights Tribunal in the span of a couple of months. We’ve pursued actions in the BC Supreme Court. We’ve gotten creative with some of our advocacy work, and that’s only been possible because we have such a deep team here at AAPS and that it’s not one or two people driving the bus anymore.”
When discussing how associations and unions fit into the workplace and how they benefit employers, Joey says that associations bring predictability and stability.
“It creates a set of norms and expectations for how the workplace will function. If everybody’s living by the collective agreement, then you have a very smooth functioning workplace. There are no disputes about, is this appropriate? Or is that appropriate?”
“If somebody’s dissatisfied in a non-union workplace with how their employer is treating them. They either quit, they sue, or they do both. In a unionized environment, you have a formalized complaint process. The employee has support through their union or their association throughout that process. There’s an orderly dispute resolution mechanism that hopefully comes up with a resolution that’s satisfactory to all the parties at the end of the process.”
I think in an ideal world, the union or association and the employer are building a vision for the workplace together and then they’re jointly championing that vision.
As far as the relationship between AAPS and APSA, both associations regularly reach out to each other to ask questions and collaborate on ideas. AAPS has been invaluable to APSA on several occasions. Recently, AAPS and APSA collaborated on a virtual networking event called Liberating Structures.
“We take a lot of pride in our relationship with APSA. There are very few groups like us in the country. At most workplaces, what we at UBC call the management and professional staff are often unrepresented, so these employees are on their own. I think these groups at both UBC and SFU have found a creative way to work together collectively through AAPS or APSA to bring a kind of workplace fairness that only typically exists in a unionized workplace. Our members get the best of both worlds. They get the career advancement that a manager may normally expect, but they also get the protection of a collective agreement and representation through a strong labour organization.”