Negotiations in a Lockout/Strike Environment: Report on a Workshop and Presentation

on Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

Yesterday, we reported on, during which we began discussions about the new rules and protocols under which collective bargaining with take place in this Spring.

This was only one of a number of different events that took place last week on this topic however. Nov. 6-10 was one of the bargaining team’s busiest weeks thus far!

A Hudson’s Bay Start: Report on the November 10 preliminary meeting between ULFA and the Board bargaining teams

on Tuesday, 14 November 2017.

Bargaining teams for the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) and the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge held a preliminary meeting on Friday, November 10.

The meeting was requested by ULFA to discuss changes to the bargaining process required by Bill 7, the provincial law that moved bargaining in the post-secondary sector into the provincial Labour Relations Code.

At the CAUT Contract Academic Staff (Sessionals) Workshop

on Tuesday, 24 October 2017.

Last week, ULFA Executive Director Annabree Fairweather and I attended the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Contract Academic Staff workshop in Toronto.

At the CAUT Contractual Faculty Workshop (my first selfie)

Contract Academic Staff (CAS) is CAUT’s term for employees who are paid on a per-course, short term, and contractual basis--the group known as “Sessional Lecturers” at the University of Lethbridge.

The struggles of CAS for fair working conditions and pay, as well as universities’ use of such contracts to replace longer-term research and teaching faculty is a major issue across North America. In many places, contractual staff now teach a majority of the credit hours on campus.

The programme for the workshop called for a day of presentations and then an all day workshop practicing various elements involved in representing CAS at the University.

Annabree was one of a select group of invited speakers who played a role on both days. On the first day, she discussed ULFA’s experiences in representing contract faculty, particularly in negotiations and grievance. On the second day, she was the expert invited to introduce the grievance workshop.

ULFA Executive Director Annabree Fairweather discussing best practice in grievances for Contractual Faculty

In addition to attending lectures and the workshop, participants also joined an exciting  lunch-time rally by and for striking college workers at Toronto’s Huron College.

Rapper Mohammad Ali rouses the crowd at the Humber College Rally


Faculty Association and Board to Negotiate an Essential Services Agreement and Discuss Negotiating Protocols under the Labour Relations Code

on Friday, 20 October 2017.

The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) and the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge will meet later this Fall to negotiate an Essential Services Agreement (ESA) and discuss other protocols for negotiating under the Labour Relations Code (LRC). The dates for negotiation and discussion are in the process of being set.

Negotiation of an ESA is required by the LRC during each round of bargaining in the Post Secondary Sector. This requirement was introduced by the passage of Bill 7 this past spring, which moved negotiations and labour relations in the sector into the LRC. Previously, negotiations in the Post Secondary Sector were conducted under the Post Secondary Learning Act (PSLA).

Under the LRC, an essential service is defined as

those services

(a) the interruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the public, or

(b) that are necessary to the maintenance and administration of the rule of law or public security. 95 (1)

By creating an ESA, Management and Unions commit to the maintenance of such services in the event of a lockout or strike. Employees performing such services are allowed to enter the premises of an employer during a lockout and are permitted to cross picket lines without penalty in the event of a strike.

In addition to the ESA, the Board and ULFA will discuss protocols for negotiating under the LRC, which introduces timelines and other rules governing bargaining.

ULFA will be represented by negotiators Paul Hayes and Daniel O’Donnell, with support from resource persons Annabree Fairweather and Terry Sway. The Board will be represented by negotiators Ed Jurkowski and Chris Nicol (co-chairs), Elaine Carlson and Carrie Takeyasu. Scott Harling will act as a resource person for the Board, which has also indicated that it will likely appoint an additional resource person at a future date.

Comparing notes on bargaining at the Fall CAFA Meeting

on Tuesday, 19 September 2017.

The Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) held its first council meeting of the year this past Friday, September 15 in Edmonton. The meeting followed the annual CAFA awards banquet on Thursday evening.

CAFA is an association of the Faculty Associations of Alberta’s four Comprehensive Academic and Research Institutions (CARIs): Athabasca University, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge.

The meeting was a general business meeting, meaning that a full range of Faculty Association business was discussed, from the annual CAFA prizes through Grievance and Labour Board matters, though there was a heavy focus on, of course, the changing bargaining environment.

Lethbridge sent its President, Andrea Amelinckx, and three other delegates from the Executive: Past President David Kaminski, Handbooks Chair/member of the ULFA bargaining team, Daniel O’Donnell, and Executive Director, Annabree Fairweather.

From a bargaining perspective, the most important thing was the opportunity to see how other Associations and Boards are approaching the new environment. Topics discussed included the timing and nature of the new Essential Services Agreement (ESA) required by the Labour Relations Code between Associations and Boards in the Post-Secondary sector, changes to the Post-Secondary Learning Act, and the state of ongoing negotiations and preparation. In addition, participants heard from experts who have experience with the Labour Relations Code in other sectors and from representatives of Faculty Associations in other provinces.

The day before the annual meeting, several Executive Directors and members of Association bargaining teams met in a special workshop focussing on the Essential Services Agreement (ESA), which is a new element our sector must negotiate prior to the start of normal collective bargaining. An ESA addresses essential services during the event of a lockout or a strike, the withdrawal of which would otherwise endanger human life or health.

The awards banquet on Thursday evening was attended by the Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, the Deputy Minister, representatives from the Administrations of various Alberta Universities, members of the Executives of all four CARI Faculty Associations, and the CAFA staff.

Additional information about the CAFA awards programme is available from the CAFA site. A layperson’s guide to the Labour Relations Code is available from the Provincial Government.

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