The ULFA and Board bargaining teams met for a three-hour session on June 4.
The sides had agreed that they would discuss the economic context of negotiations in this meeting and exchange responses to each other’s proposals. (You can follow the status of individual articles here).
The Board side presented responses to the Preamble, Article 3 (Amendments), 7 (Annual meeting), 8 (Delegation) and 10 (Courses taught in addition to assigned teaching duties). They also introduced a new proposal on Article 25 (Supervision and Discipline).
In the case of Articles 7 and 8, the two sides were able to provisionally sign off on the proposed revisions. According to the ground rules we are using for these negotiations, articles that have been initialled are considered approved in principle; final approval, however, depends in each case on approval of the entire agreement.
ULFA prepared responses on Articles 1 (Interpretation–Combined with 22 Grievance), 4 (Applications and Exclusions), 5 (Recognition), 9 (Personal files), 22 (Grievance), 23 (Mediation), 27 (Holidays), 28 (Vacations). It presented its language on 27 and 28 before we took a break, halfway through our scheduled meeting time. At the break, ULFA proposed that presentation and discussion of the remainder of these articles be put off until our next meeting, so as to leave sufficient time for the two sides to present about the economic landscape for bargaining.
Discussion of economic contexts
The two sides devoted the second half of the meeting to presentations on the economic context for negotiations. In both cases, these made frequent reference to our main comparators: U of C, U of A, Regina, U of Saskatchewan, and Trent. Mount Royal and Athabasca were also occasionally referred to.
The topics covered by the two presentations included: relative cost of living (housing prices, consumer goods, utilities) in Lethbridge vs the cities of the comparator institutions; levels of University revenue (including tuition revenue and government grants); differences among the salaries paid at the U of L vs. its comparator institutions (including current salary levels by rank, the growth of salaries, and the percentage of the total budget that salaries represent); ratios of temporary (term) to continuing/tenured academic staff positions; and the breakdown and history of the University’s budget allocations. Both sides had questions that will require further research.
ULFA also informed the Board of the areas where members have indicated that improvements to health benefits are most critical, and is provisionally scheduled to make an opening proposal on language pertaining to economic matters (i.e. Schedules A and B) at our next meeting on June 8.