As was communicated by the Administration via email earlier today, the lead negotiator for the Board’s negotiating team has filed a request with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) for informal mediation. This request was dated two days ago.
The ULFA team was informed of this request today at our scheduled negotiation session, approximately an hour before it was emailed to ULFA Members. The Board team also indicated that they will not participate in additional bargaining until a mediator can be present, although this is not prevented by the Labour Relations Code.
As indicated in our previous communications to Members, ULFA has been concerned about the progress of negotiations, and shares the hope that mediation will enable the parties to move towards agreement on important issues.
Subsequent to learning of the Board’s request, ULFA reached out to the ALRB’s Office of Mediation Services for a discussion about the best use of everyone’s time in light of the current state of bargaining. After discussing the matter with legal counsel, the ALRB, and other unions in the province, we are preparing a request for formal rather than informal mediation. This is the fastest route to settlement and should in no way impact the tone of the mediation or change the power of the mediator. But it avoids unnecessary delay and additional expense in reaching a settlement while keeping control of this collaborative process in the two negotiating teams’ hands.
ULFA’s goal since issuing the notice to bargain in April 2020 has been to negotiate a Collective Agreement that is in the best interests of the university and the people who work here. This has not changed through all subsequent meetings with the Board team through 2020 and 2021, and we hope that formal mediation will facilitate this goal.
Dr. Dan O’Donnell