Negotiations to Start Late April

As we have previously reported, the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) ruled on March 14 in favour of the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) in its case against the University of Lethbridge.

The issue involved the question of the size and composition of the Bargaining Unit and the number of associated Collective Agreements to be bargained between ULFA and the University.

Since the ruling was issues, the bargaining teams from both sides have been in contact to arrange meeting times for the commencement of bargaining.

Under the Labour Relations Code, the initial bargaining meeting must take place within 30 days of one side or the other issuing a valid “Notice to Bargain.” (An explanation of the new process of bargaining can be found here). Because our current collective agreement had two end dates (one for the “Sessional Handbook” and one for the “Faculty Handbook”), ULFA has issued two valid Notices to Bargain, including most recently on March 5.

After losing 10 days of the window to the wait for the ALRB ruling, it has proved difficult to find a suitable time in the remaining 20 days for the two sides to meet to begin bargaining. The University team was available on March 24th and 25th and while ULFA’s team had a number of dates in March available including these, it was unable to meet at the University’s proposed times.

Given this, ULFA has agreed to waive the 30 day requirement for an initial meeting under the Code. We now expect to begin negotiations on April 24th and have been able to tentatively schedule one or two meetings most weeks from April 24 through the end of our contract in June.