A New Semester at the Negotiation Table
On September 20, representatives of the Board and ULFA negotiation teams held their eleventh bargaining session since the exchange of full proposals on January 18, 2021. This session was the first negotiation session for three of the Board negotiation team members (as announced here). The session consisted of some introductory and general remarks, and the exchange of two articles. The ULFA team presented a proposal on Article YY (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), and the Board team presented a proposal on Article 28 (Intellectual Property).
Introductions, Mandates, and Positions
The session started off with some discussion on negotiation protocols, document exchange protocols and conventions, and some broad discussion on negotiation mandates and positions. The ULFA team emphasized the priority topics of total compensation, academic freedom, workload, working conditions, and collegial governance within their negotiation mandate. The Board negotiation team emphasized that they considered themselves in active negotiation while the mandate from the Board has not changed. There followed discussion on flexibility within the ULFA priority areas which resulted in the shared understanding that flexibility and compromise are required on both sides of the table in order to arrive at a negotiated agreement.
It should be noted that the Public Sector Employers Act (PSEA) allows the Provincial Government to provide confidential directives to the Board Team on salary and health benefits, and length of the agreement. The provincial mandate was not discussed with the Board Team, as the PSEA allows for these directives to be confidential even to ULFA, one of the parties to Collective Bargaining.
ULFA presentation on Article YY (EDI)
Following up from multiple exchanges of Article YY in the June 17th negotiation session, the ULFA negotiating team presented a proposal on Article YY. Much of the content had been agreed to by the end of June 17. In the new proposal, ULFA removed some of the language it had previously proposed adding, but retained some of the new provisions from previous ULFA proposals. The retained (and revised) content included provisions on a timeline on action following salary reviews, information sharing, accommodation requirements, and accommodation training for both ULFA members and administration working with ULFA members. The Board team received this proposal very positively with an indication that the proposal is likely to be acceptable following some consideration of the wording of the timeline for action following any EDI salary reviews.
Board presentation on Article 28 (Intellectual Property)
The Board negotiation team presented an Article 28 proposal that responded to ULFA’s March 8th 2021 proposal on IP. The Board proposal accepted the bulk of ULFA’s proposed changes, with two revisions: one regarding the proposed IP committee and the other to suggested member/institutional revenue sharing. The Board team recognized the significant effort by the ULFA team in preparing the Article 28 proposal, and stressed the importance of incentivizing technology transfer and commercialization within the provincial research framework.
Negotiation Session Scheduling
Both sides recognized the importance of regular negotiation sessions and indicated willingness to schedule weekly sessions throughout the Fall 2021 semester. In the days following the September 20th session, another 10 negotiation meetings have been agreed upon and scheduled. The next scheduled session will take place on September 27.
You can follow the status of all Articles opened during this round of negotiations here.