In the near future, you will be receiving a telephone call from a fellow ULFA member asking how you’re faring in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, along with pointers to information that can help you cope in these trying times. A number of those resources are provided below. Please email email@example.com with additional resources you would like to share with our members.
The call will ask you a number of questions, and your answers will be used to inform ULFA of your concerns. In providing answers, you can expect a reasonable amount of confidentiality; but, your responses may be shared in the legitimate conduct of union business.
Having said that, I do hope you elect to engage with the fellow ULFA member calling you as part of our efforts to reach out.
Please keep yourself well,
Employee and Family Assistance Program:
UofL COVID-19 Employee FAQ
Alberta Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
WCB Fact Sheet on COVID-19
AB Family Violence Info Line
Lethbridge Victim Services 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline: Crisis Line 24/7
Lethbridge Legal Aid
Facebook – Lethbridge Support Circle
Chinook Sexual Assault Centre
After a good discussion at the Annual General Meeting, held on April 6, the ULFA membership approved a bargaining mandate for the ULFA negotiating team with 94% of the membership in favour.
The bargaining mandate was prepared by ULFA’s Bargaining Resource Committee following extensive consultation, including approximately 100 one-on-one member interviews, several town halls, and a survey completed by roughly ¾ of the membership. Aspects of the draft mandate were discussed with members of the Gender Equity and Diversity Committee. The draft mandate was then provided for comment to the Negotiating Team, which will carry out the actual negotiations, before being finalised, approved by the Executive Committee, and presented to the membership for a vote at the Annual General Meeting.
The complete Bargaining Mandate is included below, the highlights include:
Demands to address salary and benefit erosion that has occurred over the past several years.
As Bob Barnetson has noted in his blog, Alberta public servants of all kinds, including ULFA members, have seen no cost of living increases since 2017, resulting in an erosion of spending power relative to inflation of at least 3.7%. ULFA members have also lost relative to their colleagues at peer institutions. Uniquely among the faculty of the province’s Comprehensive Academic and Research Universities (CARUs), U of L faculty took a 1% wage rollback to assist the University during the last Conservative government budget cutbacks in 2013. The U of L consistently underperforms its main comparators in terms of faculty compensation at all ranks.
The five comparator institutions, agreed upon with the employer, are UofA, UofC, Trent University, UofR, and UofS.
Demands to address deficiencies in benefits
There has been little progress in addressing problems with our benefits over successive rounds of negotiation. The members have consistently noted the shortcomings of our vision care and dental care benefits. There is also a clear inequity where benefits are reduced when two parents are Members of ULFA. Finally, professional development funds should be restored for tem instructors and created for sessional lecturers for each course they teach.
Demands to address workload
After much discussion, the Membership has determined to maintain current workload and to achieve equitable workload assignments for all Members. To support this demand, ULFA must receive clear data on workload levels across all units and faculties.
Demands for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Key elements of this part of the mandate include: creating a joint ULFA-Board committee to evaluate and address salary inequities related to diversity; implementing bias training for personnel committees and for Academic Administrators, Chairs, and Directors; ensuring that student evaluations are not used summatively to measure teaching effectiveness (rather, that they are used formatively by Members for improving instruction and as an indicator of the student experience); eliminating binary language from the Collective Agreement; and improving language concerning the evaluation of service and research conducted by Indigenous Members and Members who work with Indigenous peoples.
Demands for improvements in Collegial Governance
It has been repeatedly noted that the effectiveness and breadth of Members’ roles in collegial governance has been eroded over many years. This has led to a demand to increase Member representation in decision-making processes throughout the University.
Demands for an Instructor path to the Professoriate
Many Instructors establish themselves in a leadership role in teaching and teaching research. A path to a multiple-rank teaching Professoriate should be defined for those Members.
In light of uncertainties concerning funding levels, enrolment rates, and novel instructional demands, these are challenging times for negotiations with the Board. It is significant that during such times, the Membership has so clearly expressed its goals with such strong support and has publicly charged the Negotiating Team with achieving improvements in those areas that matter to them.
Complete Bargaining Mandate
Schedule A: Salary Schedule and Stipends
Address the erosion of salary and stipends in relation to the cost of living over previous years, and address the difference in salary and stipends relative to comparator institutions. Merit and career progress for Members on reduced load calculated in a more equitable way.
Schedule B Benefits
Address problems with benefits, particularly with vision care and dental care. Address inequities to benefits when both parents are Members. Restore professional development funds for term instructors. Create a professional development fund for sessional lecturers on a per course basis.
Maintain current level of work and seek equity in workload assignment.
Negotiate ULFA receiving clear data about the factors at the department/program/area level that influence workload.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Strike a joint ULFA-Board committee to evaluate and address salary inequities related to diversity.
Implement bias training for senior academic administrators, Chairs and directors, STP members, and search committee members.
Ensure that student evaluations of teaching are not used summatively or to measure teaching effectiveness but can be used formatively or for feedback on the student experience.
Implement appropriate parameters for fairly evaluating the specific nature and demands of research, service, and public duties for Indigenous Faculty Members.
Implement appropriate parameters for fairly evaluating the specific nature and demands of research, service, and public duties for those who conduct work with Indigenous people.
Change binary gendered language to more inclusive terminology throughout the Collective Agreement.
Improve ULFA representation on governance bodies including an appointed seat on the budgetary advisory committee; and increased decision making by Faculty Members on staffing priorities in academic areas.
Other STP Issues
Negotiate a salary increase tied to tenure and promotion.
Include service explicitly as a criterion for promotion and tenure.|
Negotiate promotion to associate professor as an automatic consequence of the award of tenure.
Information and Security for Union
Secure additional paid course releases and cash for ULFA.
Add @uleth email addresses to the data received in 6.03.1.e.
Article Defining Instructor Route to Professoriate
Create a category of teaching professoriate, with assistant, associate, and full teaching professor ranks, which is available only to instructors who show leadership in teaching and teaching research.
Rationalise and reorganize the Collective Agreement along the lines of Schedule S.
ULFA’s Annual General Meeting is on Monday, April 6th, 2020. It is a virtual meeting due to COVID-19. We have the online capacity for this large of a meeting and are encouraging all Members to attend. Information on accessing the meeting and a final agenda was emailed out to Members on the morning of Monday, April 6th. Please note that a password is now required. If you did not receive access codes to the online AGM, please check your spam folders first and then contact Aaron Chubb.
The ULFA Negotiating Team met today to review a draft of the proposed mandate for 2020 negotiations as prepared by the Bargaining Resource Committee (BRC). As a result of measures taken in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the team met via the Faculty Association’s Zoom account.
With the exception of some additional clarifications surrounding protections for Indigenous research and researchers, the broad shape of the proposed mandate appears to be complete. Final tweaks will be made over the next two weeks by the Bargaining Resource Committee, before the entire package is presented to the Membership at the Spring AGM (April 6, to be held via Zoom).
6/7ths of the ULFA Negotiating Team… not behind a table, for a change.
Dear ULFA Members,
As you are well aware, the University of Lethbridge has cancelled classes for Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th. Academic staff have been asked to use Monday and Tuesday as the transition days to prepare moving lessons to alternative models beginning on Wednesday, March 18th.
ULFA has concerns about such a hurried shift in how we deliver our courses, but appreciate that the health of our students, our colleagues and ourselves needs to be addressed. Compounding the problem is the closure of schools and daycares, which places those of us with dependents in especially difficult circumstances.
I spoke to President Mike Mahon and Interim VP Academic Erasmus Okine yesterday evening and raised our concerns, and they assured me that the transition to alternative instruction will allow for the broadest possible flexibility, even if what a faculty member does amounts to posting readings to course moodle pages. No standard directive for alternative delivery was mandated for faculty members, individually, or as members of academic units. They did state, however, that the method of evaluation promised in the course outline must still be respected, so that if a final exam was part of a course evaluation scheme, it could not be cancelled. They did acknowledge that they did not know how exams would go forward in the current environment, but did promise that another message to academic staff would be forthcoming on Tuesday.
ULFA notes that this move to alternative means of delivering courses is a response to a public health emergency and does not represent a precedent regarding online course offerings in the future. As well, the copyright for any content you create in producing an alternative manner of delivering a course still remains yours.
The extra efforts we make in accommodating teaching our students in this crisis should be noted on our PARs.
In closing this note, I do want to draw your attention to some articles of our collective agreement concerning health. Should you find yourself caring for gravely ill family members, Article 33.08.3 (Compassionate Care Leave) may be of particular interest. Should you fall ill yourself, Articles 33.02 and 34.04 (Medical Leave) will be applicable.
There is also a process in place for students and faculty who utilize the self-reporting Registry to report self-isolation or absence due to illness. Once an individual registers and identifies which Faculty/School they are associated with, a message gets sent to a contact person within the Faculty/School. Once received, a representative will reach out to the individual acknowledging awareness of the situation and offering support. All communications regarding the Registry and those using are strictly confidential and not to be shared or disseminated outside of those directly contacted.
Please keep yourselves well,
President, University of Lethbridge Faculty Association
ULFA’s AGM is scheduled for April 6, 2020 11 a.m.
*Please note, due to COVID-19 the AGM will likely be in an online format
Further details will be provided in the revised agenda sent to Members one week prior to the AGM.