The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) and representative of the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge finished three days of negotiations on Tuesday May 15. These were the first three days in which language was exchanged.
Friday May 11
Our first meeting was on Friday May 11, held in the ULFA offices.
Management’s goal was to present the beginnings of its proposal to merge the two Handbooks into a single collective agreement. To this end they proposed revisions to the Preamble and Objectives, Articles 1 (Interpretation), 2 (Definitions), 3 (Amendments), 4 (Applications and Exclusions), and 5 (Recognition), all of which they suggested would belong to the “common” section of the combined document. For the most part, the proposed changes to these articles were relatively minor and involved housekeeping issues (standardising language, correcting typos, etc.). Both parties agreed in principle that Article 1 should be merged into Article 22 (Grievance).
ULFA, for its part, concentrated on language that it thought the two sides could reach agreement on relatively quickly. To this end, it presented language on Articles 10 (Courses taught in addition to assigned teaching duties), 13 (Assignment of Duties), 22 (Grievance and Interpretation), 23 (Mediation), 24 (Appeals of STP), 27 (Holidays), and 28 (Vacations); again, the proposed changes were relatively minor.
Monday May 14
Our second meeting was held on Monday May 14, in a Boardroom in the 7th floor administrative offices.
At this meeting, the Management side responded to ULFA’s proposals from the previous Friday for Articles 10 and 22. It also continued its presentation of a proposal for the “common” parts of its combined Sessional and Faculty Handbook, providing language for Articles 6 (Communication), 7 (Annual Meeting), 8 (Delegation), and 9 (Personal Files).
ULFA presented additional new language. This included Articles 11 (Rights and Responsibilities), and 33 (Gradual Retirement & Reduced Load Status), where we also thought agreement was likely to come relatively quickly. We also presented some more significant changes in Article 34 (Leaves of Absence), a new Article 36 (Employment Equity & Accommodation) that has come out of work by the Gender Equity and Diversity Committee and the Joint Working Group on Equity, and a proposal for deleting Schedules C, D, G, H, I, K, L, M, O, P, and R, with the language that is still relevant being incorporated into various Articles.
Tuesday May 15
Our third meeting was held on Tuesday May 15, in the ULFA offices.
ULFA presented changes in Articles that deal with hiring, promotion, and increments: Articles 14 (Professional Librarians), 15 (Instructors and Academic Assistants), 17 (Personnel Committees), 18 (Appointment of Faculty Members), 19 (Probation and Tenure for Faculty Members), 20 (Promotion of Faculty Members), and 21 (Increments for Faculty Members/Professional Librarians), and a new Article 35 (Sessional Lecturers) based on Article 9 of the Sessional Lecturers Handbook. While most of these changes were superficial and made with the intent of merging duplicate language, eliminating cross-references, and making the Collective Agreement easier to use, there were some significant new proposals, principally relating to the terms of employment and working conditions for Sessional Lecturers.
For its part, the Management side responded to ULFA’s proposals on Articles 23 (Mediation), 27 (Holidays), and 28 (Vacation). ULFA also responded to Management’s proposals for the Preamble and Objectives, and Articles 3 (Amendments), 7 (Annual Meeting), 8 (Delegation), and 10 (Courses taught in addition to assigned teaching duties). We appear to be close to agreement on a number of these.
The groundwork has been laid for many of the key issues that we wish to address in these negotiations. Both sides have agreed that in our next meeting on June 4, we will begin to talk about the economic context of our monetary proposals, with a view to beginning discussions around salary and benefits fairly soon.