Preparations for Bargaining in 2020

Post-secondary institutions in Alberta have been operating under the Labour Relations Code only since May 4, 2017 when the Alberta Government passed Bill 7. Under this new environment, if our Collective Agreement expires and we are unable to come to terms, ULFA has the right to strike, and the university has the right to lock us out. For more information about the new labour environment, see these blog posts: Negotiating in a Strike/Lockout Environment; CAFA 2017 Meeting Following Bill 7; Letter from ULFA President David Kaminski in 2017 on Right to Strike.

Since the ultimate arbiter of a labour dispute is now job action, the strength of ULFA’s bargaining position during negotiations depends upon the extent to which our members support the mandate the bargaining team is bringing to the table.

Developing a Mandate: what we’ve been up to
ULFA’s Bargaining Resource Committee has been working hard this Fall with the goal of preparing a strong mandate for our bargaining team, with the next round of negotiations set to begin early in 2020. Having a strong bargaining mandate is particularly critical because the new provincial government has signaled that it will be sending our Board a secret directive that will dictate their negotiating mandate.
With the support and help of other members, Bargaining Resource Committee members have completed semi-structured interviews with approximately 100 ULFA members across all of the faculties to listen to the priorities that our members have for the upcoming negotiations. Based upon what we heard we conducted two Town Hall meetings to discuss the issues that seem to be on the minds of most members.

Major Themes
Some of the issues that have arisen broadly and repeatedly through these forums have been:

  • Cost of Living Adjustments: a significant number of members are very upset about low adjustments in recent years. More are extremely concerned about the possibility of a roll-back that is facing other public sector unions in the province who had wage re-openers in their Collective Agreements (for example, the nurses and teachers) and are adamant that any roll-back would be unacceptable.
  • Merit: many of our members believe that the current system of merit increments is broken. However, their ideas on how to fix it are very divergent and not always compatible.
  • Collegial Governance: increasing member representation on bodies such as the Board of Governors, the General Faculties Council, the Budget Advisory Committee, and search committees for senior academic administrators has been a recurring theme in our discussions.
  • Equity and Diversity: members have many ideas for improving the limited equity and diversity provisions that appear in the Collective Agreement. Some of these involve general changes around issues such as service that tend to have a greater impact on members of equity-seeking groups; others involve specifically targeted language.
  • Improvements for Sessional Lecturers: many members have pointed out ways in which conditions for sessional lecturers and term academic staff remain poor, despite significant improvements in the last round of negotiations, and would like to see additional improvements in this area.
  • Places not to Make Concessions: recognising that bargaining involves negotiations, members have also been alerting us to places that they would not want to see ULFA make any concessions in bargaining. These include wages, career progress increments, benefits, and workload.
  • Collaborate with Students: Given changes in the provincial budget that affect students’ finances (including raises to the tuition cap, changes to the student loan program, etc.), many members want ULFA to work closely with students and avoid any perception that any improvement to our working conditions could come at their expense.

Financial Context
There is a lot of important context that should go into any consideration of the financial aspects of negotiations. A separate blog entry will be posted shortly, in which we will provide the charts that were discussed at the Town Hall meetings. These include information about recent salary adjustments, comparisons to salaries at other universities, and impacts from the provincial budget on university operating grants and also to students’ finances. We will include any relevant new information that may be presented at the university’s Town Hall meeting on the provincial budget.

Next Steps: survey coming!

Using the data from all of these interviews and meetings, as well as the Town Hall meeting on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Bargaining Resource Committee is working to create a survey that will be distributed to all members soon. Please keep an eye out for this survey, and complete it to the best of your ability. The more information ULFA has about the priorities of all of our members, the stronger the mandate we will be able to build for the bargaining team.

3 ULFA Town Halls on Collective Bargaining

Mark your calendars and make your voices heard!

ULFA is hosting three town halls as part of building a mandate for the next round of collective bargaining in 2020.

Two of the town halls will be about the AB 2019 Budget. The purpose of these town halls will be to organize our response in the face of cutbacks and government imposed mandates to roll back salaries.

The other town hall is regarding the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report released by ULFA.

Light refreshments will be provided at each town hall.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Town Hall
Tuesday, November 5th
10 A.M—11:30 A.M in W646

Budget & Bargaining ULFA Town Hall #1
Tuesday, November 5th
2 P.M.—4 P.M. in TH 204

Budget & Bargaining  ULFA Town Hall #2
Friday, November 8th
10 A.M.—12P.M. in E690

Art NOW Series: Aruna D’Souza – Co-sponsored by ULFA

Art NOW Series: Aruna D’Souza
Killmonger at the Museum: What a Hollywood Blockbuster Can Tell Us About Institutions These Days
Noon, November 1, 2019
University Recital Hall
Free admission, everyone welcome!

Notice Board Posting

Facebook Event

Museums around the world have been challenged by protesters in recent years to account for who and what they show and who is footing the bill. While the questions aren’t new, the expectations about how museums function as public entities are, especially in the U.S. Starting with a key scene from Black Panther, this talk will explore the ways institutions are being asked to transform themselves as formerly excluded groups are staking their claims.

Aruna D’Souza writes about modern and contemporary art; intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics; and how museums shape our views of each other and the world.  Her most recent book Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts(Badlands Unlimited) was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times. Her work appears regularly in, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board, and has also been published in The Wall Street Journal,, Art News, Garage, Bookforum, Momus, Art in America, and Art Practical, among other places. She is currently editing two forthcoming volumes, Making It Modern: A Linda Nochlin Reader, and Lorraine O’Grady: Writing in Space 1973-2018.

Presented by the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association, Women Scholars’ Speaker Series (WSSS), and Faculty of Fine Arts. WSSS is funded by the President’s Office; co-chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Galway and Dr. Louise Barrett.

We wish to acknowledge the following sponsors for their support and collaboration in making Aruna D’Souza’s visit and presentation possible: Canada Council for the Arts, Department of Art, SAAG, SACPA, ULFA’s Gender, Equity and Diversity Committee, WSSS.