The 2020 ULFA Negotiating Team met this past Tuesday, March 3rd for an orientation and initial discussion of the 2020 mandate as this has been developed over the last six months by the Bargaining Resource Committee. After the Negotiating Team has had a chance to comment on the draft mandate, it will be returned to the Bargaining Resource Committee for final drafting and, ultimately, presentation to the Executive and the Membership. The draft mandate will be a major agenda item for our Spring AGM on April 6.
The 2020 Negotiating Team has some new and returning faces. Returning for this round are Chief Spokesperson Daniel Paul O’Donnell (English), and team members Rumi Graham (Library), Joy Morris (Math and Computer Science), and Rob Sutherland (Neuroscience). The two new members are Olu Awosoga (Health Sciences) and Adam Letourneau (Dhillon School of Business). While Olu and Adam are new to the ULFA negotiating team, both have previous experience with negotiations. Olu participated as an observer in the 2018-2019 round and has been a member of ULFA bargaining resource committees. Adam is an experienced arbitrator, mediator, and employment and business law practitioner and educator.
After an orientation and discussion of roles and responsibilities, the Negotiating Team started its review of the draft mandate items prepared by the Bargaining Resource Committee based on its extensive consultation with the membership this past Winter and the recently-closed bargaining issue survey. While the details are still being finalised, avoiding further loss of income, improving substandard health benefits, ensuring meaningful collegial governance, and completing the rationalisation and reorganisation of the collective agreement begun last round appear to be top items of concern for the Membership.
The Negotiating Team and Bargaining Resource Committee have also seen and discussed communications from the Administration, in both public statements from the President’s office and in a letter to the ULFA executive from the Administration’s Faculty Collective Agreement Committee outlining some policy and other positions they are taking in the run up to negotiations. It is of course quite normal for the two sides in collective agreement negotiations to begin from different starting positions: negotiations are the means by which compromise between these two initial “mandates” is discovered.