In a May 29th post, we reported on a continuing disagreement between ULFA and representatives of the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge concerning the applicability of “bridging” provisions within the Alberta Labour Relations Code to our current negotiations and collective agreement.
After several exchanges, the two sides have been unable to resolve this dispute.
In a letter dated June 12, University President Mike Mahon invoked the provisions of Article 1 of our current collective agreement, requiring the President of the Faculty Association to convene an Interpretation Committee on this matter within 5 Working Days.
ULFA has indicated to the University its belief that Article 1 is an inappropriate forum for the resolution of questions surrounding the application of the Code to our current collective agreement. We believe that the invocation of Article 1 by the University in the face of these objections could be understood as an unfair labour practice in as much as it could be understood as circumventing the provisions of the Labour Code and causing the Association and its members to surrender rights they have under that legislation. The Association has determined that the best course available to it in the face of this emergent request from the Board is to file an application with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) within the next four working days.
We have informed the University of this intention this afternoon.
The process to be followed in this case will be similar to that followed in our previous application to the Board with regard to the relationship between the Faculty and Sessional Lecturers’ “Handbooks.” The expedited process in that case took approximately two and a half months to resolve. Because this matter, like the last, relates to ongoing bargaining, we expect that the process will be similarly expedited. We remain, of course, open to other solutions that do not abrogate our members’ rights under the Code.
We will post updates as further information becomes available.
Bargaining teams from ULFA and the Board of Governors met for a scheduled 4 hour meeting on June 8th. During the meeting, which was extended by almost an extra hour, the two sides exchanged language on 18 articles and schedules (you can see the status of all articles here):
- Article 3: Amendments (presented by ULFA)
- Article 4: Applications and exclusions (presented by ULFA)
- Article 5: Recognition (presented by ULFA)
- Article 6: Communication and Information (presented by ULFA)
- Article 9: Personal files (presented by ULFA)
- Article 10: Courses taught in addition to assigned teaching duties (presented by ULFA)
- Article 11: Rights and responsibilities (presented by the Board)
- Article 16: Termination of appointment (presented by the Board)
- Article 22: Grievance (presented by the Board)
- Article 23: Mediation (presented by the Board)
- Article 24: Appeals of recommendations by STP Committees (presented by the Board)
- Article 26: Termination (presented by the Board)
- Article 29: Intellectual property (presented by the Board)
- Article 30: Travel fund (presented by the Board)
- Article 31: Research fund (presented by the Board)
- Schedule A: Salary schedules and stipends (presented by ULFA)
- Schedule B: Economic benefits (presented by ULFA)
- Schedule E: Copyright (presented by the Board)
Finally, the Board side gave a preliminary presentation on their proposal for a new structure to the Collective Agreement comprising a “Common Agreement” (i.e. articles that apply to all categories of Academic Staff), and four “Parts” that apply to different categories of members (i.e. the Professoriate, Librarians, Instructors/Academic Assistants, Sessional Lecturers).
The language presented ranged from new proposals (i.e. the first language presented on the Articles in question), to a fourth or fifth exchange. New articles included Articles 16, 26, 29, 30 and 31 and Schedules A and B. Articles 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, and 24, as well as Schedule E, involved first responses to material previously proposed by the other side. Articles 3, 10, 22, and 23 have been exchanged several times, in some cases as recently as this past Monday.
In contrast to last session, in which ULFA was able to accept in principle two responses prepared by the Board, on this day the two sides were unable to come to any provisional agreements. Several articles, however, seem quite close to provisional settlement. It seems likely that the two sides will agree to some at our next meeting.
Under the ground rules we are following, articles can be accepted in principle by the two sides during negotiations; final acceptance, however, depends on a settlement of the entire Collective Agreement. This approach allows greater flexibility in negotiations as it allows on the one hand for the two sides to build trust and agreement by gradually settling language; but on the other it means that they can also always reopen otherwise “settled” articles should additional tradeoffs become necessary to settle more contentious issues.
In addition to these “easy” articles, there are others in which there are larger differences in goals or expectations. For these it seems likely that the two sides will need a number of additional meetings and exchanges of language before agreement is reached.
As with all negotiations this spring, the meeting was cordial and included some broad and helpful discussions about the motivations behind some language proposals and about how open the presenters might be to particular concepts that could arise in counter-proposals. The next bargaining session is scheduled for June 18.
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.
Final Agenda: AGM
You are cordially invited to the ULFA Annual General Meeting on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 12pm in room PE275. The final agenda for our meeting can be found here. Lunch and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be provided.
Notice: All Candidates’ Forum
The Nominating Committee will present a recommendation for nominations to the Membership, including an election for the role of Vice-President/President Nominate. As a result of a contested election for a position on the ULFA Executive, an All Candidates’ Forum will take place immediately following the AGM on April 16 in room PE275.
The procedure for the All Candidates’ Forum will be organized according to ULFA policy. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with this protocol. Questions for the candidates are welcome in accordance with the policy, which requires that questions be written down in advance of the start of the forum. The Executive has provided a list of questions to present to the Candidates that can be found in the link above. Candidates’ Bios are located for review here.
For those of you who are unable to attend the meeting in person, WebEx videoconferencing will be available, but please make arrangements with the ULFA office (email@example.com or 403-329-2578) before April 15, 2018 to ensure you receive the meeting invite.
Getting Ready for Salary, Tenure & Promotion (STP) Applications
ULFA cordially invites you to our STP Workshops where you will be provided with a variety of tips and information on the STP process. The presentation will cover the STP process as well as provide advice on putting together a teaching dossier, research materials, and the service component of your application. The presenters are Jon Doan, VP/President Nominate & Annabree Fairweather, Executive Director, ULFA
Choose one of the following workshops that works best for your schedule:
- Calgary Workshop – Wednesday, March 21, 2018; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.; Room: S6025 (Calgary Campus)
- Workshop #1 – Tuesday, March 27, 2018; 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.; Room: TH241
- UPDATE: Workshop #2 – Wednesday, April 4, 2018;1:00 – 2:50 p.m.; Room: TH241
To RSVP your attendance to Derrick (ext. 2578;firstname.lastname@example.org).
ULFA’s Gender, Equity and Diversity Committee is proud to present Dr. Melanee Thomas, Assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary (and former U of L student) on Friday, March 16 from 2-4 p.m. (AH176). Dr. Thomas will be presenting a talk entitled Men are Naturally Better Leaders: Canadians and Political Sexism.
Dr. Thomas was here in the fall where she discussed her book Mothers and Others: Understanding the Impact of Family Life on Politics. Her talk in March will focus on some of the new research she has been doing.
Dr. Thomas has also graciously agreed to come to any classes you may have on the Friday morning – see the attached poster for her bio and range of research interests. And please, let your students and anyone else you know who might be interested in coming to this talk – we’d like to have a good crowd for her. If you can post a copy of the attached poster in your areas, it would be much appreciated. The bookstore has also graciously agreed to sell her books at the talk.