Bargaining Update for April 11, 17-18, and 23

9 newly settled articles

The weeks of April 7 and 21 saw intense bargaining between ULFA and the Board of Governors. The two teams met for approximately 18 hours during this period and settled 9 articles and schedules, including most remaining articles relating to the “core mandates” on both sides:

  • 4 Applications and exclusions
  • 5 Recognition
  • 6 Communication
  • 15 Instructors and Academic Assistants
  • 16 Termination of Appointment
  • 35 Sessional Lecturers (new article adapted from the old Sessional Lecturer Handbook)
  • Schedule A Salaries and Stipends
  • Schedule B Economic Benefits
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Student Evaluations of Teaching

As we have mentioned previously, negotiations since February 21 have taken place on an expedited basis following the “provincial template,” which encourages limited financial awards and improvements in job security language and terms and conditions. The provisionally settled articles reflect this, with a 0% across the board Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the life of the contract and improvements in terms and conditions, including new ranks and a right of first refusal for sessionals, improvements in job security and working conditions for Instructors and Academic Assistants, important improvements in information provided to the union about employment conditions, and improvements to performance evaluation for all employee categories. Similar agreements have been reached by other public sector unions in the province, including Nurses, Teachers, and the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta.

Since there are still a number of articles under negotiation (you can see the status of all articles here), it is not possible at this point to give a full accounting of the exchanges involved in the current round of negotiations. Members will have an opportunity to review the new agreement in detail should a final settlement be reached and the proposed collective agreement is recommended for ratification by the ULFA executive. Final ratification will require a positive vote by the membership.

Proposal for future reorganisation

In addition to the provisionally settled articles, the two sides also provisionally have agreed that ULFA’s proposal for the reorganisation of the Handbook will form the basis for the next round of negotiations. While the language of the MoU has yet to be finalised, this will almost certainly involve the following articles:

  • 13 Assignment of duties
  • 14 Professional librarians
  • “XX” (new article) Evaluation
  • 17 Personnel Committees
  • 18 Appointment of Faculty Members
  • 19 Probation and tenure of Faculty Members
  • 20 Promotion of Faculty Members
  • “ZZ” (new article) STP Procedures
  • 21 Increments for Faculty Members/Professional Librarians
  • 29 Intellectual Property
  • 32 Salary Schedules, Career Progress INcrements, Merit Increments, and Economic Benefits.

These articles will be substantially reorganised in the next round of negotiations. In this round, they will retain their current language except for housekeeping changes (typos, corrections, and changes required or implied by other changes in negotiated articles). Article 12 (Criteria for Extension of Probation, Tenure, Promotion and Salary Increments for Faculty Members) will also be involved in this reorganisation, but unlike the others is nonetheless undergoing some revisions in the current negotiations.

Remaining articles

This leaves 9 articles still under negotiation (the old Article 1 Interpretation and 22 Grievance have now been combined), as well as some remaining discussion about the deletion and retention of various schedules, several of which refer to the previous legal environment (e.g. Schedule C Negotiation and Impasse) or processes that are now complete (e.g. Schedule D Grandfathering clause for probationary appointments):

  • 1 Interpretation (now included in 22 Grievance)
  • 2 Definitions
  • 11 Rights and responsibilities
  • 12 Criteria for extension of probation, etc.
  • 22 Grievance procedure
  • 25 Supervision and discipline
  • 26 Termination of appointment for financial emergency or program redundancy
  • 33 Gradual retirement and reduced load
  • 34 Leaves of absence
  • 36 Employment equity and accommodation (new article)

A few of these involve core mandate issues (e.g. 12 Criteria for extension of probation, etc., which is one of the places where the use of student evaluations of teaching is discussed, and 36 Employment equity and accommodation). In most cases, including many of the remaining mandate issues, however, only a few areas of disagreement remain and the two sides appear close to resolution. The teams are currently settling on negotiating dates for the next two weeks during which they hope to resolve all outstanding issues.

Next steps

Should the negotiating teams reach a complete provisional agreement, the text goes to the ULFA executive, who will decide whether to recommend ratification. If the executive recommends ratification, the agreement is presented to the membership for approval.