Issues at the Table: Series Overview and Summary

The `Issues at the Table’ series identifies all of the significant changes that ULFA is seeking within the Articles/Schedules currently open for negotiations. These issues are addressed directly, with sufficient context provided to understand the issue, and also with a goal of providing concise discussion so the important points do not get lost in the details.  

Accompanying this summary post, a parallel living index post includes links added as content is updated, and the topics of future posts under development are also provided. This index is available here.

We have categorized these proposals in terms of negotiation mandate priorities:

  • Compensation and Benefits (parity),
  • Union Information, and Member Participation in Decision Making (respect),
  • Improvements for Instructors (equity/parity),
  • Improvements for Sessionals (equity/parity), and
  • Workload (respect/equity/parity).

For each of the posts in the series, it has been listed under the main negotiation mandate priority category. Many of these topics actually hit multiple categories, however.

Summary of What’s at Stake

Compensation and Benefits

The central issue here is (of course) compensation, with ULFA’s current position including $2600 to base salaries, maxima, and minima ($175 for sessional lecturer stipends) in addition to the percentage increases offered by the Board. The dates of the percentage increases, and whether there are increases to regular salary adjustments, are also at issue. Background information about salary erosion, salaries at comparator institutions, etc. appears in the post Salary Part 1 – How Cost of Living has been Impacting Salaries, Salary Part 2 – The Role of Comparators, as well as in future planned posts Salary Part 3 – Faculty Lifetime Earnings; Salary Part 4 – Instructor Lifetime Earnings; and Salary Part 5 – Reverse Sunshine List (on salaries that do not appear on the sunshine list).

Three other issues that impact member salaries directly are our proposal for Promotion Increments, the double reduction applied to Reduced Load Salary Increments, and the proposal to provide part of Instructor salary increments in the form of Career Progress for Instructors.

Broad improvements to benefits that we are seeking will be explained in Benefits Comparison. We are also proposing that two inequities be rectified: Additivity of Dependents’ Tuition Benefit (for ULFA couples), and Emergency Travel Coverage for Members Regardless of Age. There are also several proposals on the table to improve Benefits for Sessional Lecturers, including tuition benefit and introducing a Professional Supplement for Sessionals.

Union Information and Member Participation in Decision-Making

ULFA’s main bargaining positions relating to Member Participation in Decision-Making have been addressed in the posts on Faculty participation in decision-making and Joint Management of Economic Benefits

The positions on Union Information will be the topic of a future post.

Improvements for Instructors

One of the most significant proposals impacting Instructors specifically would be the creation of a Teaching Professoriate. The introduction of Career Progress (included under Compensation and Benefits) is another. While workload is a broad priority, some aspects of issues that have arisen with respect to workload are specific to Instructors, including the expectation of Professional Development for Instructors that is rarely recognized when duties are assigned.

Improvements for Sessionals

In addition to improved stipends and some specific benefits included under Compensation and Benefits, ULFA is seeking an Improved Right of First Refusal for Sessional Lecturers, including clarification about Satisfactory Evaluations. ULFA also proposes that more of our contract staff should be given the improved working conditions and benefits available to term appointees, as explained in Sessional Lecturer vs. Term Appointee – What’s the Difference?. We are also looking for better language to ensure that term appointments are not used to fill ongoing needs, as will be explained in Ameliorating Excessive Cumulative Term Appointments. 


This issue is largely addressed in our post on Workload.

Published Posts

The published and upcoming posts, including hyperlinks, are available here.  

Background Information

Negotiations between the University of Lethbridge Board of Governors (Board) and the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) have been underway since April 16th, 2020 (677 days at the time of writing – 2022/02/22). In an effort to kickstart negotiations, and in response to a slow initial pace of negotiations, in November 2020 ULFA proposed that both parties exchange full package proposals. This was agreed to and both parties exchanged full package proposals on January 18th, 2021 where 43 articles/schedules were opened for negotiations by either or both parties. Fast forward to today, where the parties have met for negotiations sessions 30 times, including 6 informal negotiation sessions, 3 formal mediation sessions, 6 negotiation sessions in advance of the strike deadline, and 0 meetings since the start of strike action at 11am on February 10th.  The most recent proposal exchange was a proposal bundle provided by the ULFA negotiation team to the Board via email on February 12th. Thus far the Board has been unwilling to meet with us to discuss this proposal or any other proposals.

Through negotiation thus far, there has been agreement to delete three schedules, Schedules C and K (March 22, 2021), and Schedule I (April 8th, 2021), as well as agreement on language in one MOU (reorganization of the Collective Agreement, December 16th, 2021), and two articles (Article 28, Intellectual Property, October 19th, 2021; Article YY, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, January 12th, 2022). During mediation, which spanned November 29, 2021 to January 17, 2022, the Board mounted a concerted attempt to heavily limit items open for negotiation and to revert  to  status quo language in the 2018-2020 Collective Agreement for all other opened items. 

As mediation did not lead to a new Collective Agreement as hoped, ULFA is now focusing on the most important of its opened proposals that address priority areas within the mandate built and approved by the membership for this round of bargaining. ULFA considers the following Articles and schedules to be open for negotiations: Articles 2 (Definitions), 5 (Recognition), 6 (Communications and Information), 12 (Extension of Probation, Tenure, Promotion, and Salary Increments for Faculty Members), 15 (Academic Assistants), 18 (Appointment of Faculty Members), 21 (Increments for Faculty Members/Professional Librarians), 31 (Salary Schedules, Career Progress Increments, Merit Increments, and Economic Benefits), 32 (Gradual Retirement and Reduced Load Status for Members other than Sessional Lecturers), 34 (Sessional Lecturers), and Schedules A (Salary Schedules and Stipends) and B (Economic Benefits)/BB (Academic Benefits Management Committee).