ALRB hearing (February 6, 7 and 20) and Negotiating Updates: January 31 and February 21

ALRB hearing

Representatives from ULFA and the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge attended a hearing of the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) in Calgary on February 6 and 7. At the hearing, the ALRB agreed to provide a decision, with rationale to follow, on February 20th. You can find out more about the issues at stake in this hearing by reading backwards from here.

The ALRB issued its ruling (without rationale) as promised at the close of business yesterday (Wednesday February 20). In its brief statement the ALRB indicated that there is “not a violation of section 147(3) of the Labour Code” as alleged by ULFA.

The ALRB ruling was brief and raised a number of questions for which we will be seeking further clarification, either via our counsel or after the ALRB provides its rationale. In the meantime, however, it appears that the current status quo will prevail, in which the Board of Governors paid Professional Supplement, Career Progress, and Merit on June 30th, 2018 but not COLA. As we noted in our December 2nd Blog

The main risk to ULFA of the Labour Board hearing is essentially that a loss will make the status quo permanent. The Board of Governors has already withheld the July 1, 2018 COLA; if we lose at the Board, then our members will continue to receive the 0s they are already receiving. They will have lost the COLA adjustment we believe that they are owed. But nobody will be worse (or better) off after a loss than they have been since the Board of Governors began withholding that payment.

In other words, it now appears that Members will not receive retroactive COLA increases in 2018-2019 as a result of the bridging provisions of the Albert Labour Relations Code but rather that their salaries will continue as they now are.

We will add further information to this here and/or in our town halls as it becomes available to us.

Negotiating Updates

Representatives of ULFA and the Board of Governors also met in two negotiating sessions since our last blog: January 31 and February 21. As always, you can follow the progress of individual articles here.

January 31

On January 31st, ULFA presented the second installment of its response to the Board’s “Parts,” while the Board presented a response to ULFA’s last proposal on Article 33 Reduced Load and Gradual Retirement:

ULFABoard of Governors
14 Professional Librarians
20 Promotion
21 Increments
25 Supervision and discipline
32 Salary Schedules
33 Reduced Load

At the meeting, the two sides also began discussions of ways of bringing negotiations to conclusion.

February 21

The negotiations on February 21st picked up the discussion of ways to bring negotiations to a conclusion in a more detailed way. ULFA also presented more of its response to the Board of Governors’ “Parts” and the Board provided a response to ULFA’s last proposal on 34 Leaves.

ULFABoard of Governors
15 Instructors/Academic Assistants
“35” Sessionals
34 Leaves

As a result of the discussions about process, the two sides agreed to seek an increase in the number of meeting times and a preliminary approach to dividing up the remaining articles: articles that are key to the two sides’ mandates; articles that require revision due to the exigencies of the Labour Code; and articles involved in the proposed restructuring of the Handbook (i.e. the “Parts”).

If the two sides are able to find a common meeting time next week, this will be devoted to a broad discussion of goals for the remaining articles.

The week after that, ULFA will present material from some or all of Articles 4, 5, and 6 (Applications and Exclusions, Recognition, and Communication) while the Board will respond to ULFA’s proposals on Sessional and Instructors/Academic Assistants (15, 35, but also related parts of other articles including 21 and 32).

In the following meeting, the two sides have provisionally scheduled a response from the Board of Governors to Articles 4, 5, and 6 and, from ULFA, a new proposal on Schedules A and B that takes into account the Board work on Sessionals and Instructors. After that, the sides will endeavour to meet weekly as schedules allow until a final agreement is reached.