Updates: Bargaining (October 22 and 25, November 1)

ULFA and representatives of the Board of Governors met for three negotiating sessions over the last two weeks: Monday October 22nd, Thursday October 25th, and November 1. As always, you can follow the exchange of articles here.

October 22

In the October 22nd session, the two sides exchanged 6 articles, in keeping with our September discussions.

3 Amendments
5 Recognition
6 Communication and Information
3 Amendments
4 Applications and exclusions
Schedule A (Sessionals only)
Schedule B

This was an exciting and active session with lots of give and take.

In the case of Article 3, the two sides were able to settle on agreeable language after several rounds of at-the-table bargaining. Article 3 covers largely technical matters regarding amendments to the Collective Agreement. Under the new Labour Code regulations, however, it also governs the conditions under which job action (lockout or strike) may and may not take place. In the last few rounds, the discussion centred on the conditions under which Members of the Faculty Association may refuse to carry out scheduled duties in support of picket lines established on campus by other unions.

Article 5 deals with the conditions under which the Association can carry out its business. We are gradually beginning to identify the main areas of agreement in this article.

Article 6 deals with information required by the Association to carry out its business. Once again the two sides are beginning to identify the main areas of agreement.

The Board of Governors presented Schedules A (Sessionals only) and B as part of their proposed organization of the handbook.

Finally, the Board presented a new version of Article 4 (Applications and Exclusions). This article deals with the bargaining unit and who is, or is not, protected by the Collective Agreement. The Board of Governors expanded on their previous proposal to entirely remove Senior Administrators (Associate Deans and above) and Faculty Members serving on the Board of Governors from the protections of the Collective Agreement. Senior Academic Administrators normally hold concurrent academic appointments (i.e. as an Instructor, Academic Assistant, Professional Librarian, or Member of the Professoriate).

Currently, Senior Academic Administrators are protected by the Collective Agreement when teaching or engaging in research. This means their tenure, rank, and Academic Freedom are provided the same protections given to all other Members. Under the Board proposal, this protection would be replaced by an as-yet-unpublished Board policy governing Academic Freedom for Senior Administrators.

ULFA’s position is that a Board policy that can be rescinded unilaterally does not provide adequate protection for academic work, which is a concern for all faculty. If the Board rescinded their policy, Senior Administrators could conceivably be censured, disciplined, or fired for academic activities that would otherwise be protected by Academic Freedom provisions in the handbook.

ULFA has undertaken to research this issue further before presenting a response to the Board’s proposal.

October 25

Final versions of all “Parts”24 Appeals of Recommendations by STP Committee and Appeal Committees
29 Intellectual Property

On October 25, ULFA presented Articles 24 and 29, while the Board presented the final version of its “Parts.”

In the case of 24, the two sides seem to be very close to agreement. The ULFA proposal clarified a few places where the current language did not seem to reflect the agreement at the table. The Board side agreed to review these to ensure accuracy.

In the case of Article 29, ULFA presented a significant reorganisation to bring it more closely in line with current legislation on intellectual property, and correcting various terminological issues. Other than the reorganization, there were relatively few changes in language from that presented by the Board on June 9. In broad terms, the two sides appear to be relatively close in this article.

Over the last several months, the Board has presented a comprehensive reorganisation of the Collective Agreement by job category (i.e. Sessional Lecturer, Instructor/Academic Assistant, Professional Librarian, Professoriate). This means that a large number of Articles from the current handbook have been “tied up” in the different proposed “parts.” In some cases, the complexity of the proposal has required the Board to revise material already presented.  ULFA has been waiting for the final presentation on the proposed Parts before preparing a response. ULFA has agreed to present a counter-proposal by the end of November.

November 1

On November 1, the two sides met for a third time. Although both sides were prepared to present articles, the discussion shifted to a possible new approach to increase focus and efficiency in bargaining. Bargaining was adjourned to consider this approach and the two sides hope to reach an agreement early this week on the best way to tackle bargaining for the remainder of the Fall semester.