Bargaining update April 4

Negotiating teams from ULFA and the Board of Governors met on Thursday April 4 to continue bargaining.

ULFA presented 5 Articles and Schedules and the Board presented 1. As always, you can follow the status of individual articles here.

12 Criteria for Extension of Probation (etc)
15 Academic Assistants/Instructors
35 Sessional Lecturers
Schedule A: Salaries and Stipends
Schedule B: Economic Benefits
11 Rights and Responsibilities

Negotiations for the last several weeks have been held under an informal agreement from February 21 between the two sides to focus on core mandate issues.

At the February meeting, the Board of Governors indicated that they wanted to explore ways of moving negotiations forward in an expedited fashion through March and April. ULFA agreed provisionally as a result to provide weekly meeting dates and indicated our willingness to explore ways of expediting negotiations to meet the Board’s proposed deadline. In doing so, ULFA also contingently agreed to explore accepting reduced compensation in exchange for improved job security and other terms and conditions (the “Provincial Template”). It also agreed to suspend a provision in its mandate for the reorganisation of several articles on a similarly contingent basis tied also to a proposed MoU governing the starting point for our next round of negotiations.

Unfortunately, after some rapid initial progress, negotiations appear at this point to have slowed down considerably and bargaining is increasingly bogged down in discussions of side issues.

ULFA raised some of these concerns at the table directly with representatives of the Board of Governors, who have indicated that they have a more optimistic view of the current state of negotiations.

As a sign of good faith, ULFA has agreed to meet again on April 11. If we are able to resume progress at this meeting, ULFA has found several possible dates for full-day sessions in April which might assist in reaching agreement if the focus can be maintained on core issues. If not, we have three morning sessions including April 11 scheduled through the end of April as part of our commitment to the expedited process.

Either way, this current attempt at reaching an expedited agreement on the terms proposed by the Board in February comes to a conclusion at the end of April. If this expedited process fails, negotiating will return to a more sustainable pace for the rest of the summer and ULFA will turn its focus to concluding negotiations on the Essential Services Agreement (ESA), a key requirement that must be in place before formal mediation, job action, and other techniques for bringing difficult negotiations to a close can begin.