Negotiating Update: February 8, 2021

Representatives of the Board and ULFA met on February 8 for the first discussion of language in the current round of negotiations. 

As mentioned in the last blog, the ULFA side prepared: 

  • Article “YY” (a proposal to create a new article on Equity and Diversity based on the current Schedule R);
  • Schedule E (a proposal to generalize and update the PAR report form);
  • Article 20/Article “ZZ” (a proposal to simplify and generalize STP processes); and 
  • Article 28 (a proposal to update IP provisions of the handbook).

For their part, the Board team indicated that they would present on: 

  • Article 3 (procedures for updating the Collective Agreement), 
  • Criteria for performance evaluation and associated review processes; and 
  • Teaching Professoriate

In the event, the two sides discussed

  • the Board’s proposals for Article 3, 
  • ULFA’s proposals for Schedule E and Article 20/ZZ, and 
  • an ULFA proposal for the Teaching Professoriate (since the Board did not prepare language on this topic and ULFA had in our package, it was decided that it would be better for ULFA to present first). 

The two sides agreed to begin the next meeting with ULFA’s proposal on Article “YY” (EDI). As in the last round, you can follow the status of all articles under negotiation this year on this spreadsheet.

Although it is more than 6 months since the end of our Collective Agreement, this was the first time the two sides discussed language in any detailed way. 

The two sides remain far apart, although the discussion was constructive and there are some early signs in these few articles of opportunities for fruitful conversation. The Board side indicated that their mandate will once again not allow for any increase in costs, while the ULFA side indicated that its mandate requires it to address the erosion in salaries and benefits that has occurred in the years since U of L academic staff (uniquely in the province) last conceded to salary rollbacks in 2013 . 

Since mandates are starting points and negotiations are how we reconcile contrasting visions, it should be clear that neither side is going to get their complete mandate. But the session was a reminder of how far apart these starting positions are.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on February 22, with the two sides intending to meet biweekly for the foreseeable future.