Bargaining Update April 8, 2021

On April 8, representatives of the Board and ULFA held their fifth bargaining session since the exchange of full proposals on January 18, 2021 (eighth overall), as ULFA members entered their tenth month “without a contract” (i.e. since the expiration of the previous Collective Agreement on June 30th, 2020). By this time in the previous round of negotiations, we had met approximately thirty times and were about six weeks from agreement.

“The focus of this extended meeting was a presentation by ULFA of its “Article XX package.”” This is a proposal for a reorganisation of articles pertaining to job categories and evaluation processes that ULFA believes will reduce duplication and ambiguity in the current agreement and make these extremely common and important processes both easier to oversee and less open to error and misunderstanding.

The heart of the proposal is “Article XX.” This is a proposal for a new article that collects all information about evaluation, including the criteria and processes by which career progress, merit, and requests for tenure/continuing appointments, are considered and evaluated. 

Currently, this information is spread throughout the following Articles:

  • Article 12: Criteria for the Extension of Probation, Tenure, Promotion, and Salary Increments for Faculty Members
  • Article 14: Professional Librarians
  • Article 15: Instructors[/Academic Assistants]
  • Article 18: Appointment of Faculty Members
  • Article 21: Increments for Faculty Members/Professional Librarians
  • Article 31: Salary Schedules, Career Progress Increments, Merit Increments, and Economic Benefits
  • Article 34: Sessional Lecturers

There are two main problems with the way information about evaluation is represented currently in these articles:

  1. There is considerable repetition across the job categories: e.g. definitions of “teaching effectiveness” and how this can be demonstrated appear in similar language in Articles 12.01.1 (Faculty), 15.06.2 (Instructors and Academic Assistants, and 34.02.2 (Sessionals); and, conversely
  2. There are also considerable gaps, in which members of one job category are referred to Articles pertaining to a different job category for important information about evaluation, in some cases without any explicit mention being made about how this material is to be interpreted in their case: e.g. the process for extension of probation and tenure for Professional Librarians points to the process for promotion and tenure of Faculty Members, despite the fact that Librarians and Faculty are evaluated on different criteria (Teaching, Research and Service in the case of Faculty Members; “Performance as a Professional Librarian, Research and Professional Development, and Service in the case of Professional Librarians).

The ULFA proposal reorganises this by

  • Collecting all information about processes and the criteria for evaluation that is common to job categories in Articles devoted to these general processes (i.e. Article 18: Appointment; Article 34: Reappointment [Term Limited positions]; and “XX” Evaluation);
  • Collecting all information specific to individual job categories (such as ranks, expectations and duties, etc.) in Articles devoted to each job category (i.e. Article 12 [Faculty], 14 [Professional Librarians], 15 [Instructors/Academic Assistants]).

This was a major proposal and the explication and presentation by ULFA of the reorganisation, additions, and deletions across these eight articles took most of the five hours allotted to bargaining by the two sides, meaning that a number of other articles prepared by both sides for presentation on the 8th had to be held over for discussion at future meetings. In some cases (e.g. Articles 12, 14, 15, 18, and 34), ULFA’s presentation also involved a response to Articles opened by the Board. In other cases (e.g. Articles 21, 31, and “XX”), ULFA was presenting new material. As is common at this point in negotiations, there was considerable conceptual discussion, particularly in this case with regard to similarities and differences between the Board and ULFA’s positions regarding term-limited positions (e.g. Sessional Lecturer and Term Appointees). 

The next step with articles in the “XX group” is for the Board to make a counter proposal.

You can follow the status of all Articles opened during this round of negotiations here.

*May 27, 2021: ULFA’s “Article XX package” presented on April 8, 2021 also included the proposed deletion of Schedules P and Q. These proposed deletions have been reflected in our Articles Exchanged Summary since April 8, but were inadvertently omitted in the above blog post.”