Article 7 Labour/Management Meeting Blog

Please note, this is an account of an Article 7: Quarterly Labour/Management Meeting between ULFA Executive and UofL Senior Administration, written by ULFA Executive members. Any details or opinions expressed herein are as they were understood or expressed by the ULFA Executive and are not necessarily those of the University of Lethbridge Board of Governors or their representatives.

Report of the June 3rd, 2024 Article 7 Meeting

The parties provide their agenda items 5 days in advance of the meeting, as provided for in the Academic Staff Collective Agreement. We discussed Bill 18, the blog of Article 7 meetings, campus security, student enrolment, concerns around Israel-Hamas, the Rural Medical Training program, and other matters. As per tradition, the two parties took turns in raising the various agenda items.

There was an open discussion of the nature and purpose of the  ULFA Blogs of Article 7 meetings. The Blogs are intended to be neutral and accurate, but necessarily represent ULFA’s position and understanding of the meetings. ULFA proposed that each blog would contain a statement recognising this, while providing the Membership with a general sense of the matters discussed, and on the understanding that Members can reach out to the ULFA Executive for clarification or details on items within the blog if desired.

Both parties raised Bill 18 as an item they are actively working on. ULFA referenced its participation in the campaign website, initiated by  the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA). ULFA and Board representatives have been separately meeting with multiple levels of government on this matter.

The Board team provided a Security Update on measures being taken in the post-Waterloo attack of 2023 environment. Before the end of June, academic staff will receive a reminder and update of available safety measures. Both parties expressed a commitment to taking measures so that the University of Lethbridge can be a safe place for learning, teaching and research.

The Senior Administration team reiterated that lower domestic Student Enrolment continues to be a concern. They noted appreciation for ULFA Members participating in recruitment and onboarding activities such as Ahead of the Herd, Open House, and New Student Orientation. Projects such as Start Smart, to address first year retention rates, are seeing some initial success. Both sides agreed that smaller class sizes are ideal for student recruitment, retention and successful outcomes, but that current issues with the budget and funding create challenges in this regard.

ULFA brought up Member-driven Concerns Around Israel/Hamas, and reminded the Board representatives about statements ULFA has made thus far on academic freedom and student freedom of expression. ULFA invited the Board Representatives to see if there was interest in joint efforts to further support Scholars at Risk, of which the UofL has been a member organization since 2018.

The Board team shared a Rural Medical Education Training Program update. Fruitful conversations are underway with the University of Calgary for this collaboration, announced in the most recent Alberta Budget to address the shortage of rural doctors. The old CCBN building is being considered for renovations to create space for program delivery and support.