Bargaining teams for the Board of Governors and ULFA met as scheduled on Tuesday December 4.
ULFA brought proposals to the meeting for Article 6 (Communication), 11 (Rights and Responsibilities), and 26 (Financial Emergency and Redundancy). The Board of Governors’ team brought a proposal for Article 9 (Personal Files).
The meeting ended up focussed entirely on Article 9. The Board of Governors’ team made its presentation and then asked the ULFA team to take a caucus to consider whether it would be able to agree the proposed language in principle. After a brief review that uncovered a number of relevant discrepancies between this proposal and ULFA’s previous language for this article, we re-convened to discuss how to use the remainder of our meeting, and engaged in a short but productive discussion of the differences we had observed. ULFA then indicated that it could either take Article 9 and return with a new proposal next meeting or take a longer caucus to revise the Board’s current language during this meeting. The Board side asked ULFA to take a longer caucus to prepare a counter-proposal for presentation in the same meeting.
After about 75 minutes, the two sides met again and ULFA presented its counter-proposal. With a few additional edits, the two sides were able to come to agreement. This also coincided with the end of the three-hour session. You can follow the status of all articles in this round of negotiations here.
This is the first time we have taken this approach in negotiations. In all, the two sides spent between 45 and 60 minutes in face-to-face discussions and almost two hours in caucus. While it is not unusual for teams to work like this on a single article towards the end of contract negotiations, it is somewhat less common to see it with so much still on the table, and in relation to a relatively technical article like Article 9.
Both sides agreed to bring proposals to the next scheduled bargaining session on December 20, and that for ULFA this means bringing our proposals for Articles 6, 11, and 26 since they were not presented on December 4.