The ULFA executive met August 15 and 16 to prepare for 2017-2018 academic year, our first under the Labour Relations Code. Among the participants were the chairs of the Economic Benefits and Handbook committees, Paul Hayes and Dan O’Donnell. They are responsible for preparing the Faculty Association’s positions in the upcoming negotiations.
The executive devoted a large chunk of both days to preparing for negotiations within the new legal framework brought on by the Supreme Court’s 2015 Saskatchewan Federation of Labour decision and subsequent changes introduced to the Alberta Post Secondary Learning Act (PSLA) as a result.
The headline news from these changes, of course, is the introduction of the possibility of a Lockout/Strike into our labour negotiations. But Bill 7 (the act that brought the PSLA in line with the Supreme Court ruling) also brought with it a large number of changes in basic processes: by moving labour relations between the Faculty Association and the Board into the Labour Relations Code, for example, the Act also introduced new timelines and statutory requirements that affect how we conduct our negotiations and settle any differences that may arise.
Over the two-day retreat, the ULFA executive heard from experts with experience in University-Association labour relations under similar regimes. We also discussed governance under the new rules with Lori Morinville from the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations.
With the beginning of the new Academic Year, the Handbooks and Economic Benefits committees will put the final touches on the Faculty Association positions for this year’s negotiations. We look forward to meeting with the Board’s representatives soon to discuss our negotiations under the new legislation.