Nov. 4th Bargaining Town Hall and Recent Updates

Nov. 17, 2021


This post contains the following information updates:

  1. Nov. 4th Bargaining Town Hall,
  2. Status of the Essential Services Agreement (ESA),
  3. Mediation, and
  4. CAUT defence fund approval.

1. Nov. 4th Bargaining Town Hall

A Town Hall on the current status of Bargaining was held on November 4th. Prepared remarks were provided by Locke Spencer lead negotiator of the ULFA Negotiation team and Julia Brassolotto of the ULFA Job Action Committee. The slide deck presented at the Nov. 4th Town Hall can be found here, and a more detailed discussion of most of the presentation is found in the Oct. 26 Town Hall post. Key differences between the prepared remarks on Oct. 26th and Nov. 4th were:

  • Changes in mediation status (see below),
  • Guest appearance of Orvie Dingwall and Erik Thomson, UMFA President and Vice President, respectively, and
  • An update on plans for the Nov. 17th ULFA information rally.

Following prepared remarks there was time for open questions and general discussion. 

At this Town Hall, discussion centred around current progress and recent events relating to negotiations and how membership can be more involved and show support. There was significant interest in understanding what mediation is and how it works, and how membership can show solidarity at this time. Further information on how #ouruniversity is #worthfightingfor has been emailed to ULFA membership on Nov.15th and Nov. 16th.

Information about the Nov. 17th information rally is provided here.

2. Status of Essential Services Agreement

An update on the Essential Services Agreement (ESA) was provided on Nov. 5th here. Since this posting, ULFA has been informed by the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) that the Essential Services Commissioner will review the ESA on Nov. 22nd. It is anticipated that following this review the ESA will be accepted.

3. Mediation Update

As indicated to ULFA membership on Oct. 28th, we are currently arranging informal mediation for bargaining associated with our collective agreement. The Board’s application for informal mediation was dated Oct. 26th. ULFA filed for formal mediation on Oct. 28th, on the same date that the Board informed us of their filing. Following conversations with the Director of ALRB Mediation Services, we understand that our mediation status switches from informal to formal mediation once the ESA has been accepted. The only difference between informal and formal mediation is that formal mediation is a prerequisite for job action. I.e., if informal mediation revealed that the two sides are too far apart, formal mediation would still be required prior to the application of job action. As we are already over 500 days since our previous collective agreement expired (i.e., 505 days as of Nov. 17th), going directly into formal mediation will avoid wasting time and money on informal mediation. 

Four full-day mediation sessions have been booked in 2021: November 29 and 30, and December 6 and 7.  The ULFA negotiation team is optimistic that the mediation process will be effective in helping us to reach an equitable collective agreement.

4. CAUT approves support from the Job Action Fund for ULFA Members in the event of Job Action

On Saturday Nov. 13th, the CAUT job action fund approved ULFA members for support in the event of job action this winter or spring. This approval supports job action pay, covers some benefits, and provides access to a large interest-free loan to ULFA in the event that extra resources are required. CAUT members also committed to supporting ULFA at the picket line in the event of a lockout or strike.

Approval by the Defence Fund is a precautionary measure and it does not require job action to be ongoing or imminent. At the meeting on Saturday, several other Faculty Associations requested and received similar approval, only one of which is in the process of conducting a strike vote. 

Faculty Associations request approval before Job Action is imminent as a prudent and precautionary measure to ensure that they have access to funding in the event of a lockout by the employer or a positive strike vote by their members. Such support also demonstrates to the employer that the Association has access to sufficient resources to withstand job action and that they enjoy the support of colleagues from across the country. This can be vital when negotiations move to mediation, as is currently the case at the U of L.

ULFA representatives to the CAUT Defence fund are Vishaal Baulkaran and David Hay.

You can read more about Job Action in our primer

More details on the work of the Job Action Committee can be found here.

You can follow the status of all Articles opened during this round of negotiations here.