Bargaining Update: March 22, 2021

On March 22, ULFA and the Board held their fourth bargaining session since the January 18th exchange of full proposals. The meeting opened with a discussion on the feasibility of scheduling meeting times more frequently than once every two weeks. The Board team suggested lengthening the two scheduled April meetings as a short-term substitute for more frequent meetings, given that significant portions of the packages exchanged in January have yet to be formally presented. The ULFA team agreed to extend the April 8 and 22 bargaining meetings to five hours each, and the Board team indicated weekly meetings would be possible for them beginning in May. The teams also discussed the desirability of continuing to bargain over the summer, and agreed to follow up around questions of summer availability. 

The Board team presented proposals on Schedule E (Professional Activities Report) and Article 13 (Duties of Members), both of which have gone back and forth already. There remain differences to resolve regarding Schedule E. A significant gap exists between the two sides’ perspectives on aspects of Article 13: for example, the Board asserted management rights as a reason for not accepting ULFA’s proposal to contain workload by defining an average work week as 37.5 hours. The Board did agree with ULFA’s position that the existing language on PARs does not belong in Article 13, although the parties have yet to agree on where it will end up.

The last item presented by the Board team was their “Proposal #15” on “limited term and sessional appointments.”  “Proposal #15” involves opening a number of Articles in order to make changes: 

  • 2 (Definitions) 
  • 14 (Professional Librarians)
  • 15 (Instructors/Academic Assistants)
  • 16 (Termination)
  • 18 (Appointments)
  • 34 (Sessional Lecturers) and 
  • Schedule A (Salary Schedules/Stipends).

Proposal #15 would move all provisions for term appointments into Article 34 (Sessional Lecturers) and would treat term employees like Sessional Lecturers for most purposes. This would include introducing a limited Right of First Refusal for term appointees while removing any limitations on how many times they could be employed on a casual basis. Suggested changes to Schedule A.01.4 would reduce the minimum stipend for Sessional Lecturer I and  II and introduce a new Sessional Lecturer III category with a minimum course stipend at the current Sessional Lecturer II stipend. The new Sessional Lecturer III rank would apply to Sessional Lecturers who have taught sufficiently frequently and have previously been appointed at the rank of Sessional Lecturer II.

The ULFA team presented the proposed deletion of four Schedules, which it suggested are no longer needed: C (Grandfathering for Probationary Appointments MOU), F (Academic Career Implementation), I (Implementation of Academic Assistants/Instructor Language), and K (Student Evaluations of Teaching MOU). The ULFA team also proposed a minor wording change in Schedule J (regarding when Members must declare uses of University facilities as a possible conflict of interest or commitment).

The ULFA team made initial presentations on their proposals for Articles 4 (Applications and Exclusions) and 6 (Communication and Information). The Article 4 proposal consists of a single change to omit current language specifying how ULFA should allocate its Association dues. The Board was receptive to this change. ULFA’s Article 6 proposal, which seeks additional, timely information on its membership, led to some very productive interest-based discussion on possible ways to meet ULFA’s information needs within the Board’s staffing and system capacities. 

ULFA’s final presentation in this meeting was a response to the Board’s Article 5 proposal. By including language adapted from the U of A collective agreement, ULFA’s response addresses the Board’s desire to affirm management rights. This offer is contingent on the parties finding a mutually agreeable  way (such as ULFA’s Article 13 proposal to limit the work week) to contain the amount of work expected of members. ULFA’s Article 5 response also proposes language prohibiting the Board from contracting out work (teaching, research, performance as a Professional Librarian, etc.) commonly performed by members of the academic staff. The proposal gives ULFA the right to participate in new Member orientations and increases existing course release provisions. The proposal also contains a new collegial governance section which provides ULFA representation in some University decision-making processes such as budgeting and determining hiring priorities.

The two sides agreed to the deletion of Schedules C and K. The Board team indicated it will take a closer look at the proposals to delete Schedule F and I. 

Both sides agreed to end the meeting a bit early so team members could participate in the GFC Committee of the Whole meeting. As a consequence, ULFA did not present its response to the Board’s Article 11 (Rights and Responsibilities) proposal or its Article 32 proposal as originally planned. For the next meeting on April 8, ULFA tentatively offered to respond to the Board’s “Proposal #15” (described above) with ULFA’s proposals for Articles XX (Evaluation) and the numerous Articles and Schedules most implicated by Article XX. The extension to a 5-hour meeting makes presenting this collection of Articles feasible, and will enable ULFA to explain the interconnections. Both parties agreed to exchange a list of items that will be presented at the next meeting on April 8 via email correspondence.

You can track the progress of exchanged bargaining proposals in this spreadsheet.