Bargaining Update August 10, 2021

Changes to Board Negotiating Team; August meetings

ULFA was recently notified that Dr. Kelly Williams-Whitt, who assumed the role of Chair of the Board Negotiating Team on July 1st replacing Dr. Chris Nicol, is leaving the University of Lethbridge and will therefore also be leaving the Board Negotiating Team. Dr. Robert Wood will be taking on the role of Lead Negotiator for the Board, and Dr. Harold Jansen will be joining Dr. Mary Ingraham and Linda Van der Velde as the other members of the Board’s team. 

As a consequence of these changes, the Board suggested postponing or cancelling the bargaining sessions that had been scheduled for August 9th and 12th. We have had 10 bargaining sessions since the exchange of full proposals on January 18, 2021. The most recent session was on June 17, and we have no other sessions currently booked.

ULFA proposal in light of Negotiation delays rejected

It is very unfortunate and frustrating that the negotiation process is seeing another delay. Working without the security and stability of a ratified collective agreement for the past 13 months has been an additional source of stress and difficulty in an already unprecedented time for the ULFA membership and the entire University community. 

The top priority of the ULFA Negotiation Team is to proceed with negotiations towards our bargaining mandate as soon as possible, but it appears that significant progress may not occur in a timely fashion. It seems possible that close to three months could pass between our most recent meeting of June 17th, and the next meeting we can schedule. While the current delay is predicated on changes in the Board negotiation team in response to unforeseen circumstances, we do not think this sends a positive message to our members about university priorities. 

As a resolution, on August 6th we presented in writing a proposal to the Board for a two-year extension of the previous collective agreement, pushing the June 30th, 2020 expiry date to June 30th 2022. Our intent was to provide stability for our membership during what has been an extremely trying period and to allow the Board time needed to organize for effective negotiations. This proposal was in line with the extension proposal offered in the summer of 2020 (see here).

On August 9th, the ULFA Negotiation team received notification from Dr. Robert Wood that the negotiation session scheduled for August 12th could not take place and that our proposal to extend the previous Collective Agreement was not accepted. This communication indicated that “circumstances that are motivating the cancellation of these dates are not at all connected to university priorities related to bargaining.” The ULFA negotiation team has communicated potential future negotiation session dates with the Board team. 

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