Second Pre-bargaining meeting (Dec. 15): Some disagreements about process and scope

The Faculty Association and Board Bargaining teams met on Friday Dec. 15.

The meeting was called by the Board as a followup to our November 10 meeting to discuss various protocols and processes that will govern bargaining once it begins in the new year.

Issues discussed at the December 15th meeting included the Essential Services Agreement (ESA), the number of “tables” (i.e. the number of agreements and sets of negotiations), and a very broad overview of potential topics for negotiation.

As a result of this discussion, the two sides have discovered some important differences of opinion and understanding, particularly pertaining to the mechanics of negotiation under the Labour Relations Code and the Post Secondary Learning Act.

This is not surprising, since we are entering a completely new negotiating environment as a result of the passing of Bill 7 this past Spring. In some cases these differences need to be resolved before bargaining can begin. We have tentatively scheduled a follow-up meeting in mid January and intend to use the meantime to further research the issues in question and the avenues that exist for their resolution. In some cases, this may involve appeals to external authorities such as the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

In keeping with our practice of alternating between Board and Faculty Association space, this meeting took place in the Faculty Association offices. The Board side was represented by Chris Nicol and Ed Jurkowski (co-chairs), Carrie Takeyasu, Scott Harling, and external consultant Geoff Tierney. This was also our first opportunity to meet with new Chief Human Resources Officer Chandra Singh who began in his new position on Dec. 7.

On the Faculty Association side were Daniel Paul O’Donnell and Paul Hayes with Terry Sway and Annabree Fairweather serving as resource persons. New to the team was Rumi Graham who is serving as an observer from the Economic Benefits Committee.