Representatives of the Board of Governors and ULFA met on May 8, 9, 10, and 14 to continue negotiations. The extended sessions saw the two sides reach agreements-in-principle on most remaining articles (As always, you can follow the progress of individual articles here):
12 Criteria for Extension of Probation, Tenure, Promotion and Salary Increments for Faculty Members
11 Rights and Responsibilities
26 Termination of Appointment for Financial Emergency or Due to Program Redundancy
25 Supervision and Discipline
MoU Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (NEW)
34 Leaves of Absence
Schedule K Maternity Leave Examples
At this point, the two sides have yet to reach formal agreement-in-principle on two articles and schedules: Article 2 (Definitions) and Schedule S (replacing the current Schedule R), in which the two sides conclude bargaining and commit themselves to recommending the concluded agreement for ratification. The two sides hope to reach final agreement on these items and the agreement as a whole on Tuesday May 21–slightly more than a year after negotiations began on April 24, 2018. The first exchanges of language took place on May 11, 2018.
The next step once agreement on all articles is reached is for the agreement-in-principle to be recommended by the bargaining teams to their principals for ratification. In the case of ULFA this process involves presenting the agreement-in-principle to the ULFA executive and, with the executive’s recommendation, to the ULFA membership for a ratification vote. Ratification will require a special meeting of the membership in order to move and second the motion for ratification by electronic ballot. More information about this special meeting will be communicated to the membership after final agreement-in-principle is reached. Members will also be provided with access to the proposed agreement, as well as detailed and summary accounts of the proposed changes.
Representatives of the Board of Governors and ULFA met on May 2nd to continue bargaining. This was to discuss issues remaining after a majority of the major mandate issues were settled in marathon sessions on April 17, 18, and 23.
Two articles were settled on May 2:
- 22 (Grievance Procedure); and
- 33 (Gradual Retirement and Reduced Load)
A third article, 11 (Rights and Responsibilities) saw two exchanges during the session. While the two sides are close on this article, some significant differences remain. You can follow the status of all articles here.
Finally, the two teams agreed on some extended times for negotiation on May 8-10. On each day the teams will meet in the morning and then return for a shorter session in the afternoon.
9 newly settled articles
The weeks of April 7 and 21 saw intense bargaining between ULFA and the Board of Governors. The two teams met for approximately 18 hours during this period and settled 9 articles and schedules, including most remaining articles relating to the “core mandates” on both sides:
- 4 Applications and exclusions
- 5 Recognition
- 6 Communication
- 15 Instructors and Academic Assistants
- 16 Termination of Appointment
- 35 Sessional Lecturers (new article adapted from the old Sessional Lecturer Handbook)
- Schedule A Salaries and Stipends
- Schedule B Economic Benefits
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Student Evaluations of Teaching
As we have mentioned previously, negotiations since February 21 have taken place on an expedited basis following the “provincial template,” which encourages limited financial awards and improvements in job security language and terms and conditions. The provisionally settled articles reflect this, with a 0% across the board Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the life of the contract and improvements in terms and conditions, including new ranks and a right of first refusal for sessionals, improvements in job security and working conditions for Instructors and Academic Assistants, important improvements in information provided to the union about employment conditions, and improvements to performance evaluation for all employee categories. Similar agreements have been reached by other public sector unions in the province, including Nurses, Teachers, and the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta.
Since there are still a number of articles under negotiation (you can see the status of all articles here), it is not possible at this point to give a full accounting of the exchanges involved in the current round of negotiations. Members will have an opportunity to review the new agreement in detail should a final settlement be reached and the proposed collective agreement is recommended for ratification by the ULFA executive. Final ratification will require a positive vote by the membership.
Proposal for future reorganisation
In addition to the provisionally settled articles, the two sides also provisionally have agreed that ULFA’s proposal for the reorganisation of the Handbook will form the basis for the next round of negotiations. While the language of the MoU has yet to be finalised, this will almost certainly involve the following articles:
- 13 Assignment of duties
- 14 Professional librarians
- “XX” (new article) Evaluation
- 17 Personnel Committees
- 18 Appointment of Faculty Members
- 19 Probation and tenure of Faculty Members
- 20 Promotion of Faculty Members
- “ZZ” (new article) STP Procedures
- 21 Increments for Faculty Members/Professional Librarians
- 29 Intellectual Property
- 32 Salary Schedules, Career Progress INcrements, Merit Increments, and Economic Benefits.
These articles will be substantially reorganised in the next round of negotiations. In this round, they will retain their current language except for housekeeping changes (typos, corrections, and changes required or implied by other changes in negotiated articles). Article 12 (Criteria for Extension of Probation, Tenure, Promotion and Salary Increments for Faculty Members) will also be involved in this reorganisation, but unlike the others is nonetheless undergoing some revisions in the current negotiations.
This leaves 9 articles still under negotiation (the old Article 1 Interpretation and 22 Grievance have now been combined), as well as some remaining discussion about the deletion and retention of various schedules, several of which refer to the previous legal environment (e.g. Schedule C Negotiation and Impasse) or processes that are now complete (e.g. Schedule D Grandfathering clause for probationary appointments):
- 1 Interpretation (now included in 22 Grievance)
- 2 Definitions
- 11 Rights and responsibilities
- 12 Criteria for extension of probation, etc.
- 22 Grievance procedure
- 25 Supervision and discipline
- 26 Termination of appointment for financial emergency or program redundancy
- 33 Gradual retirement and reduced load
- 34 Leaves of absence
- 36 Employment equity and accommodation (new article)
A few of these involve core mandate issues (e.g. 12 Criteria for extension of probation, etc., which is one of the places where the use of student evaluations of teaching is discussed, and 36 Employment equity and accommodation). In most cases, including many of the remaining mandate issues, however, only a few areas of disagreement remain and the two sides appear close to resolution. The teams are currently settling on negotiating dates for the next two weeks during which they hope to resolve all outstanding issues.
Should the negotiating teams reach a complete provisional agreement, the text goes to the ULFA executive, who will decide whether to recommend ratification. If the executive recommends ratification, the agreement is presented to the membership for approval.
Negotiating teams from ULFA and the Board of Governors met on Thursday April 4 to continue bargaining.
ULFA presented 5 Articles and Schedules and the Board presented 1. As always, you can follow the status of individual articles here.
|12 Criteria for Extension of Probation (etc)
15 Academic Assistants/Instructors
35 Sessional Lecturers
Schedule A: Salaries and Stipends
Schedule B: Economic Benefits
|11 Rights and Responsibilities|
Negotiations for the last several weeks have been held under an informal agreement from February 21 between the two sides to focus on core mandate issues.
At the February meeting, the Board of Governors indicated that they wanted to explore ways of moving negotiations forward in an expedited fashion through March and April. ULFA agreed provisionally as a result to provide weekly meeting dates and indicated our willingness to explore ways of expediting negotiations to meet the Board’s proposed deadline. In doing so, ULFA also contingently agreed to explore accepting reduced compensation in exchange for improved job security and other terms and conditions (the “Provincial Template”). It also agreed to suspend a provision in its mandate for the reorganisation of several articles on a similarly contingent basis tied also to a proposed MoU governing the starting point for our next round of negotiations.
ULFA raised some of these concerns at the table directly with representatives of the Board of Governors, who have indicated that they have a more optimistic view of the current state of negotiations.
As a sign of good faith, ULFA has agreed to meet again on April 11. If we are able to resume progress at this meeting, ULFA has found several possible dates for full-day sessions in April which might assist in reaching agreement if the focus can be maintained on core issues. If not, we have three morning sessions including April 11 scheduled through the end of April as part of our commitment to the expedited process.
Either way, this current attempt at reaching an expedited agreement on the terms proposed by the Board in February comes to a conclusion at the end of April. If this expedited process fails, negotiating will return to a more sustainable pace for the rest of the summer and ULFA will turn its focus to concluding negotiations on the Essential Services Agreement (ESA), a key requirement that must be in place before formal mediation, job action, and other techniques for bringing difficult negotiations to a close can begin.
The Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) has compiled a useful report on party platforms regarding post-secondary education for the 2019 Alberta General Election.
The report can be found here.
2019 Alberta Election Party Platform Summary
At this point, the Alberta NDP and Alberta Liberals are the only parties that have responded directly to CAFA’s questions. Their responses can be found here:
2019 Alberta Election CAFA Q’s NDP response
2019 Alberta Election CAFA Q’s Liberal Party response
If other parties provide responses to CAFA’s questions we will post them here as they become available.