U of L tactics “heavy handed,” labour expert argues

The University of Lethbridge is taking a “heavy handed” approach in its relationship with U of L faculty, reports Labour Relations expert Bob Barnetson in his blog Labour and Employment in Alberta.

The Board of Governors served the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) with a “Notice to Bargain” for Sessional Lecturers on January 22nd. The University and ULFA are parties to a case concerning the legality of these same negotiations that is currently before the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB). The hearing in that case is scheduled for February 12.

In its notice, the University indicated that it intended to negotiate as many as 16 out of the 19 articles governing Sessional Lecturer conditions of employment. (You can read more about the case before the ALRB and other aspects of our ongoing negotiations by following our bargaining blog at ULFA.ca or following ULFA on Facebook or Twitter.)

“Both the act of serving notice and the scope of bargaining appears like a fairly aggressive move to me,” writes Barnetson, a professor of Labour Relations at Athabasca University.

“It is not really clear why the U of L would act this way,” he notes. “The U of L likely wants to bargain these groups separately in order to reduce the strike power of the staff and drive rollbacks,” he writes. “I suspect it is about money and grinding cost out of the sessional contract.”

Barnetson, whose blog follows labour relations across the province, thinks the approach may be related to other recent cases in which the University has come out on the losing side of legal battles with the Faculty Association. “The U of L has become increasingly aggressive with ULFA over the past two years,” he suggests.

You can read the complete blog posting here: http://albertalabour.blogspot.ca/2018/02/alrb-hearing-on-u-of-l-bargaining-units.html.


This post is intended to keep the membership of ULFA informed about issues in labour negotiations between the Union and the University. The information it contains is provided without prejudice and is intended for a general, non-specialist audience. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information this post contains is accurate, it does not represent an official legal or negotiating position of ULFA. In the event of a disagreement between this post and an official notice or document, the official document is correct.