On September 27, representatives of the Board and ULFA negotiation teams held their twelfth bargaining session since the exchange of full proposals on January 18, 2021. The session consisted of some interest-based discussion on Article 11 (Rights and Responsibilities), a Board presentation on Article YY (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), and ULFA presentations on Schedule A (Salary Schedules and Stipends) and Article 28 (Intellectual Property).
Article 11 discussion (Rights and Responsibilities)
The Board negotiating team indicated that they would benefit from some general discussion of Article 11 prior to their presentation of a new written proposal. The discussion centred around Academic Freedom within the Collective Agreement and the notion that operational considerations could trump academic freedom. The Board team noted that Article 11.01.7 in the Article 11 proposal included in its January 18th complete package seemed to couple Academic Freedom with institutional management, and expressed a desire to de-couple these two notions without undermining the importance of either. The ULFA negotiation team was asked about this and responded by indicating that since the ULFA Article 11 proposal presented on May 20th did not include Article 11.01.7,ULFA’s proposal does not make Academic Freedom subject to institutional/operational priorities. The tone of the conversation was suggestive of some level of agreement on this point. The Board team stated it will bring another Article 11 proposal after due consideration.
Board presentation on Article YY (EDI)
Following multiple Article YY proposal exchanges on June 17th and ULFA’s proposal presented on September 20th, the Board team presented a response proposal on Article YY. While the Board team had indicated at the end of the September 20th session that the two sides were very close to agreement, the Board’s September 27th written response accepted only one of the changes in ULFA’s September 20th proposal and rejected the rest. Points of difference involve sharing of aggregate EDI data, documentation requirements for accommodations, Human Rights training for supervisors, and interpretation of collective agreement language in the context of legislation requirements. The ULFA team was surprised by the apparent distance between the Board team’s verbal acceptance of most of the proposed new language in ULFA’s September 20th proposal and the written disagreement evident in the Board team’s September 27th proposal. Discussions seemed to indicate there may be room to include ULFA’s proposals on these matters in other ways, but it remains unclear what language might be acceptable to the Board team, as they have not proposed alternate language on these points. We will continue to work towards agreement on this important article.
ULFA presentation on Schedule A (Salary Schedules and Stipends)
The ULFA negotiation team presented their opening position on Schedule A during the September 27th negotiation session. To provide context, the ULFA team shared some quantitative data regarding member compensation evolution as a function of Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and inflation. Statistical compensation data were also shown for faculty compensation at U of L compared to the 5 historically agreed comparator institutions (Alberta, Calgary, Regina, Saskatchewan, and Trent). The key points of this presentation on COLA and Comparators are available here. The COLA and comparator adjustments included in ULFA’s Schedule A proposal were justified through the shared inflation and statistical data. The Board accepted the proposal with few questions or discussion, and indicated that a response will be forthcoming in due course.
ULFA presentation on Article 28 (Intellectual Property)
The ULFA negotiation team presented an Article 28 proposal in response to the Board team’s September 20th proposal on IP. The new proposal dealt with the two remaining points of difference: the allocation of costs in the event of external consultation by the IP committee, and the suggested allocation of royalties in a member/Board partnership. The compromise proposed by the ULFA team reflected the September 20th discussion on the Board’s proposal. While initial brief discussion seemed to suggest the two sides were very close to agreement, the allotted session time finished before questions or a fuller discussion could be entertained.
Negotiation Session scheduling
While 8 further bargaining sessions have been scheduled for October through December, the earlier agreement in principle to meet during Reading Week was rejected by the Board due to schedule conflicts. The next scheduled session will take place on October 14.
You can follow the status of all Articles opened during this round of negotiations here.