The University of Calgary officially privatized another university department last week, dubbed the IMAGinE project.
The U of C signed a $40 million, seven-year contract with Xerox Canada to revamp all printing, scanning, storage and document creation services on campus. The deal is expected to save the U of C $13.8 million over the length of the partnership.
Unlike the privatization of Food Services last summer--when 400 positions were terminated--this deal saw university administration working more closely with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Local 52, resulting in fewer job losses. Of the nine affected employees four have taken positions with Xerox Canada, one employee was moved to another job on campus and two positions were abolished without the option to be employed by Xerox.
"The individuals have been looked after but the collective was bent," said AUPE Local 52 chair Shirley Maki. "We would be happier if all the staff had remained part of the bargaining unit, but this was the decision most of them made."
Xerox representative Glyn Davies explained that in situations like this staff are either offered positions within Xerox, or reassigned within the association.
When the U of C started exploring a partnership with Xerox, IMAGinE project director Theresa Mueller stressed there would be no job losses or outsourcing, both of which have proven false.
Maki said administration assured her that no other plans for privatization exist on campus.
"I would certainly like to believe that the university is not giving us misinformation," said Maki.
Xerox will evaluate existing equipment and systems before making any changes.
"We try to maximize on the investment the customer already has," said Davies. "We don't want them to fork out a bunch of money and have us come in and say 'do it all again.' But if something doesn't fit, it will be replaced."
The university plans to create a system to save and send documents electronically. This will reduce the need for actual printing and will save space on campus.
The digital plans raised security concerns earlier in the negotiation process, but Xerox is sure they can maintain security in the system.
"Xerox has a lot of financial customers, so we are well equipped to keep information secure," explained Davies, stressing that integrating a university-wide system is still in the planning stages.
U of C communications director Colleen Turner said students will see benefits from the deal almost immediately.
"There are possibilities of internships with Xerox, and anything that makes things easier for faculty will trickle down to students," she said.