Bargaining Update June 17, 2021

On June 17, representatives of the Board and ULFA held their tenth bargaining session since the exchange of full proposals on January 18, 2021. This session was scheduled as a full day session and was productive in terms of ground covered and movement towards some partial agreement.

The Board team presented a response on Article YY / Schedule R (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) and some discussion on the ULFA proposal for Article XX (Evaluation) and Article 19 (Tenure and Promotion). 

The ULFA negotiating team presented the remaining portion of their initial proposal on Article 33 (Leaves), and responses on Article 9 (Personal Files), Article 24 (Discipline), and Article YY / Schedule R (EDI).

There was also confirmation of the negotiation schedule for the summer months, and congratulations to Dr. Chris Nicol on his upcoming departure from negotiations for Administrative leave. 

Board and ULFA proposals on Article YY (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion)

The discussion on Article YY (number to be agreed upon toward the conclusion of bargaining) actually saw three proposals on the negotiation table during the June 17th negotiation session. The Board presented a response to ULFA’s May 31 proposal, followed by an ULFA response to the Board’s proposal just presented, followed by another Board response. During the last response of the day presented by the Board, they indicated that some portions of their response were not fully written. The Board team indicated that it would provide a written copy of the fully revised Article proposal within a week. 

There were several points on which movement was made by both sides within areas of: 

  • the composition of the Joint Committee on EDI (JCEDI), 
  • the scope of the work of the JCEDI and EDI studies, 
  • the relationship between the JCEDI and the institutional Executive Director of EDI, 
  • exchange of EDI-related information and data, 
  • member accommodation, and 
  • legislated responsibilities associated with Member accommodation. 

The JCEDI will be composed of 3 representatives for both the Board and ULFA (there are 2 representatives for the Board and ULFA in the current JEC). The JCEDI will operate independently of the Executive Director of EDI, while both may share advice and information. Relevant data will be shared with the Association, but the approval process for this is not yet agreed on. The Board suggested replacing specific accommodation requirements that ULFA had proposed including with an obligation to provide training around these same areas. Full details of these proposed changes are expected to be provided by the Board negotiation team in the near future.

Board discussion on Article XX and Article 19 (Probation and Tenure for Faculty Members)

The Board used a partial draft of a response to Article 19 to present a general framework around their future response to ULFA proposals around restructuring the Collective Agreement. There is mutual recognition that ULFA’s proposal for Article XX (including content moved from Articles 12, 14, 15, 18, 21, 31, and 34) represents a large change in language for the Collective Agreement. In some instances language is both moving locations and also changing. The Board identified instances where, in their view, this may not provide an improvement on the current Collective Agreement and suggested that such changes would require substantial time from both negotiation teams. The ULFA team acknowledged the concern about time, but restated our belief that the proposed XX structure does simplify the Collective Agreement, while indicating willingness to consider compromises that might further improve the organization of the Collective Agreement and clarify processes including Member Evaluation that are common to all members of the Academic Staff.

ULFA proposal on Article 33 (Leaves)

ULFA’s team initially presented half of Article 33 on June 10th (33.01-33.03). The presentation was completed on June 17th (33.04). ULFA’s Article 33 proposal organizes leaves into two main categories, involuntary leaves and voluntary leaves. Organizing the proposed changes in this way was informed by the practical consideration that from the perspective of a Member, leaves are either planned or emergent.  Both involuntary and voluntary leaves have paid and unpaid subcategories depending on the nature of the leave. Discussion of the presentation of 33.01-33.03 (Types of Leave, Impact of Leave, Involuntary Leave) is found here

For voluntary leaves, ULFA’s proposal recognizes that these are anticipated and thus the proposed application process is different than for involuntary leaves. Article 33.04 addresses Political leave, Secondment leave, Exchanges, Educational leave, and Other Voluntary leave. 

Proposed revisions to Political leave include recognition that the required leave may be full or partial, that leave to campaign or seek nomination may be requested, and that Political leave may be appropriate for a Member accepting a political appointment.

The proposal for Secondment leave and Exchanges acknowledges that leave may be full or partial, clarifies the assignment of Member responsibilities during partial leave, and recognizes that the Board may propose secondments to a Member. 

Education leave is a proposed new addition to Article 33 intended as a retention/recruitment element to the Collective Agreement mostly for instructors. While the leave is without pay, there is a provision for an educational grant to the Member within the first year of the leave (the leave itself is for a maximum of 2 years plus a possible 1 year extension). The grant would be conditional upon a return to duties for at least the same length as the educational grant portion of the leave, with a repayment clause for the educational grant. While this type of leave could be covered through Article 13.07 or Article 15.07, the proposed Education leave provides greater detail and direction for such leave than is provided elsewhere in the Collective Agreement.

The new proposed leave category of `Other Voluntary’ leave inherits the attributes associated with `Other Leave’ in the current Collective Agreement.

ULFA proposal on Article 9 (Personal File)

The ULFA team’s presentation of Article 9 was in response to the Board’s presentation of their opening position on this article on May 31, where the Board proposed language in 9.03 related to materials produced in Article 24 (Discipline). Article 24 already indicates that such materials should be included in the Personal File, but details around this were not provided explicitly in Article 9. In ULFA’s response, the Board’s proposed change was accepted in principle with the clarification that all provisions of Article 9 around content that can appear in a Personal File still apply, and incorporated into an expanded 9.05 (which already mentioned the inclusion of disciplinary records). 

ULFA proposal on Article 24 (Discipline)

The ULFA team’s presentation of Article 24 was in response to the initial Board proposal presented on June 10th. ULFA did not propose changes to this article in the full exchange in Jan. 2021. Several of the Board proposed changes were deemed to be of mutual benefit and accepted with minor revisions, with some items clarified, and some Board proposed changes not accepted. 

The ULFA proposal accepts the introduction of the term “Corrective Action” as a non-disciplinary measure incorporated into many locations within the article. A clause indicating that not all complaints require a full investigation has been accepted. Recognizing the importance of campus safety, a clause for non-disciplinary suspension with pay has been accepted with some revised stipulations including notification of the association within 72 hours and non-disciplinary documentation not being added to a Member’s Personal File. 

The portion of the Board proposed Article 24 that would deny Members the option of accompaniment to a supervisory meeting with their Dean has been rejected. The subjection of Limited Term Members to Sessional disciplinary procedures has also been rejected. Within the current negotiation round there are differences between Board and ULFA proposals with respect to the grouping and classification of Limited Term Lecturers with either Sessional Lecturers or Faculty Members/Librarians. Board proposed changes in Article 24 resulting in Limited Term Lecturers being grouped with Sessionals have not been accepted. 

Future Negotiation Sessions

The next negotiation sessions will be held on August 9th and 12th. (In previous communications we had mentioned a single meeting in August, but in fact two have been scheduled.) Outside of that, the teams have been unable to find mutually agreeable times to meet over the summer. It is anticipated that negotiation sessions will resume at a more frequent pace in September.

Revised Board Negotiating Team

The forthcoming departure of Dr. Chris Nicol from the Board’s academic staff relations team (effective upon the start of his administrative leave on July 1) leaves a vacancy in the position of Chief Spokesperson for the Board, as well as in the Board’s negotiating team. ULFA has been notified that Dr. Kelly Williams-Whitt (Associate Dean, Dhillon School of Business) will be stepping into the role of Chief Negotiator, while Dr. Robert Wood (Interim Vice-President Research) will be filling the vacant seat on the Board’s team. Dr. Williams-Whitt had served on the ULFA negotiating team in the previous round of bargaining, prior to her appointment as a senior academic administrator. Dr. Wood was a member of the Board negotiating team for part of the previous round of bargaining.

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