-For Immediate Release-
The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) announced Monday February 14th that they had sent a new offer to the Board of Governors on Saturday evening, February 12th. The purpose of the offer was to restart negotiations that had stalled after the two parties’ strike and lockout deadlines.
The new proposal builds on the Board of Governors’ offer as the basis for looking at salary structures and increases and instead focuses on terms and conditions. The Board of Governors’ team has indicated that they are not yet prepared to discuss this offer, but are considering it.
The Board Team have also contacted ULFA to announce that they are adding external legal counsel to their negotiating team as a new co-lead. This is the fifth person who has been named by the Board to lead or co-lead their negotiating team in the current round of bargaining, and the second change in the last seven days.
“We think that the time has passed for posturing,” ULFA Chief Bargainer Locke Spencer noted. “It’s time to get back to the table and focus on achieving a settlement. For two years, the Board has been unwilling to move on even trivial things that are under their control, having nothing to do with government directives. We say let’s start by making some changes there,” Spencer said.
ULFA president Dan O’Donnell noted that the new ULFA proposal is quite similar to those seen at other bargaining tables in the province.
“At other universities, we are beginning to see proposals for settlements that follow this pattern,” he said. “Financial settlements in the range we are proposing with across-the-board adjustments based on the Board’s numbers, and with significant gains in terms and conditions to compensate for lower cost-of-living adjustments.
“It is only at the U of L that we are seeing a resistance to compromise on both money and terms and conditions.”
The ULFA bargaining team proposed to restart negotiations on Monday morning. There had been no reply at press-time, but Morris remains hopeful.
“Sooner or later, we will have to settle this dispute,” Morris said. “The question is how long the Board is willing to let this disruption go on before it ends.”
“ULFA calls on the Board team to meet with us at the table and get this done,” she added. “We’ve always said that that is where we ought to be focusing our energies.”
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