On October 14, representatives of the Board and ULFA negotiation teams held their thirteenth bargaining session since the exchange of full proposals on January 18, 2021. The session consisted of a Board presentation of some of the costs associated with the ULFA proposed Schedule B (Benefits), an ULFA presentation on Article YY (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), Board presentations on Article 28 (Intellectual Property) and Article 17 (Personnel Committees), and an ULFA presentation on Article 25 (Financial Emergency).
Schedule B discussion (Benefits)
The Board team invited the HR manager of Payroll, Pension, and Benefits to present some costing data associated with improvements to benefits in ULFA’s Schedule B proposal presented at the February 22 negotiation meeting. ULFA’s proposed improvements are in the following areas: increased coverage for services provided by a chartered psychologist/master of social work/registered social worker, coverage for shingles vaccination and any relevant vaccination arising from a pandemic if there is a cost, upgrading dental coverage to the current year’s Alberta Blue Cross dental fee guide, increased vision care coverage, improved Employee and Family Assistance Program coverage, emergency travel benefits coverage for Members beyond the age of 75, Professional Supplement funds for Sessionals and all Members who are less than full-load equivalent, and removal of the 50% cap on the tuition benefit for dependents when both parents are Members. Through follow up questions it was clear that this information was not a Board-team response proposal to Schedule B. When asked about the ULFA proposal for a joint committee on benefits (Schedule BB), the Board team was not prepared to respond at this time.
ULFA presentation on Article YY (EDI)
Following up from multiple Article YY proposal exchanges on June 17th, September 20th, and September 27th, the ULFA team presented a response proposal on Article YY. The new proposal incorporated language addressing concerns shared by the Board in discussion of the previous version, and was informed by consultation with the ULFA GEDC committee and interested members. Key areas within ULFA’s proposal are provision of aggregate EDI data to the Association needed to fulfill legislated responsibilities, greater clarity and compromise on accommodation requests and support documentation, and the availability of human rights training for members and their supervisors. The Board team expressed understanding of our need for aggregate data and verbally indicated acceptance of aspects of the other language proposals surrounding accommodation. We will continue to work towards agreement on this important article.
Board presentation on Article 28 (Intellectual Property)
The Board team presented an Article 28 proposal following the September 27th, September 20th, and March 8th proposals on intellectual property (IP). Discussions to date had narrowed the negotiations to two remaining points of difference: coverage of costs in the event of external consultation by the IP committee, and the suggested allocation of royalties in a Member/Board partnership. A compromise had been proposed on these points by the ULFA team.
The Board’s October 14 proposal was a radical departure from the immediately preceding proposals from ULFA and the Board, with entire sections removed and a statement that Board policy, rather than a negotiated agreement, would better address all financial matters pertaining to IP. The ULFA team expressed shock, disappointment, and concern that this radical departure was a move towards impasse whereas it seemed 28 was very close to being settled at the end of the previous session. The ULFA team indicated that it would not respond to this proposal. In response, the Board team indicated that the intent of the changes was to find a different way to reach agreement within the spirit of what had been discussed. The ULFA team indicated it failed to see how a Board policy outside of the Collective Agreement would better serve the ULFA Membership on this matter. The Board team acknowledged the ULFA concern and agreed to present a new Article 28 proposal at a later date.
Board presentation on Article 17 (Personnel Committees)
The Board team presented a proposal on Article 17 as a follow up to the May 31st presentation of ULFA’s opening position on this article. The main changes proposed by the Board team were the removal of the term “Reasonable Apprehension of Bias” from 17.08 (Conflict of Interest), and rejection of sharing information with the Association as a matter of process in several areas. In response to ULFA’s proposal to incorporate some aspects of how committee membership is decided into Article 17 that are currently covered by Faculty policies, the Board team rejected these proposals, expressing concern that the proposed wording would not work well outside the Faculty of Arts and Science.
ULFA presentation on Article 25 (Financial Emergency)
The ULFA negotiation team presented a proposal on Article 25 as a follow up to the June 10th presentation of the Board’s opening position on this article. The ULFA team accepted a minor change in committee staffing from 2 to 3 individuals from each of the Association and the Board. Article 25 contains some very powerful tools for dealing with financial emergencies. There is significant difference between the Board and ULFA positions on this article with respect to the threshold that should be required for a declaration of financial emergency. This has implications for collegial governance, the structure of the institution as a whole, as well as for tenure and job security of our membership.
Negotiation Session scheduling
Seven further bargaining sessions have been scheduled for October through December. The next scheduled session will take place on October 19.
You can follow the status of all Articles opened during this round of negotiations here.