Negotiations in a Lockout/Strike Environment: Report on a Workshop and Presentation

Yesterday, we reported on, during which we began discussions about the new rules and protocols under which collective bargaining with take place in this Spring.

This was only one of a number of different events that took place last week on this topic however. Nov. 6-10 was one of the bargaining team’s busiest weeks thus far!

Understanding bargaining in a Lockout/Strike context presentation (Monday November 6).

The first event in the week was a presentation to the ULFA membership about negotiating in the context of Bill 7 (i.e. Lockout/Strike). On Monday afternoon, members of the executive and the bargaining team held a townhall with members, during which we went through

  • the changes imposed on us by the Labour Relations Code;
  • the current state of our preparations for the very unlikely possibility that we reach an impasse that results in a lockout or strike;
  • some things members can do now to ensure they are as protected as possible in the very unlikely event of a lockout or strike.

Bargaining Update Photo

This emphasis on the fact that a strike or lockout is very unlikely was found throughout the presentation as well. While it is prudent to prepare for a worst-case scenario, we have very little reason to believe that a lockout or strike is in any way likely this round:

  1. The Board and ULFA have a very long history of successful labour negotiations–over 40 contracts successfully completed in our 50 year history, without less than a handful requiring mediation or arbitration;
  2. Job action is rare in the Post Secondary sector and usually follows deteriorating relationships;
  3. Employers as a rule do not seek out job action, since it hurts their core business (universities that have strikes or lockouts tend to have lower enrolment, subsequently);
  4. ULFA (like all faculty associations in the province) is still building its job action fund, and as a result is at the weakest it will ever be.

We will be giving a version of this presentation at the AGM on Thursday, December 7, 2018 from at noon in PE275. You can also access the slides here: