ULFA prepares Labour Board application over contested “bridging” provisions

In a May 29th post, we reported on a continuing disagreement between ULFA and representatives of the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge concerning the applicability of “bridging” provisions within the Alberta Labour Relations Code to our current negotiations and collective agreement.

After several exchanges, the two sides have been unable to resolve this dispute.

In a letter dated June 12, University President Mike Mahon invoked the provisions of Article 1 of our current collective agreement, requiring the President of the Faculty Association to convene an Interpretation Committee on this matter within 5 Working Days.

ULFA has indicated to the University its belief that Article 1 is an inappropriate forum for the resolution of questions surrounding the application of the Code to our current collective agreement. We believe that the invocation of Article 1 by the University in the face of these objections could be understood as an unfair labour practice in as much as it could be understood as circumventing the provisions of the Labour Code and causing the Association and its members to surrender rights they have under that legislation. The Association has determined that the best course available to it in the face of this emergent request from the Board is to file an application with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) within the next four working days.

We have informed the University of this intention this afternoon.

The process to be followed in this case will be similar to that followed in our previous application to the Board with regard to the relationship between the Faculty and Sessional Lecturers’ “Handbooks.” The expedited process in that case took approximately two and a half months to resolve. Because this matter, like the last, relates to ongoing bargaining, we expect that the process will be similarly expedited. We remain, of course, open to other solutions that do not abrogate our members’ rights under the Code.

We will post updates as further information becomes available.