Bargaining update March 27

Negotiating teams from ULFA and the Board of Governors met on Wednesday March 27 to continue bargaining.

The session was very fluid. While some language was exchanged, considerable attention was also devoted to process. Although ULFA came prepared to sign off on the Board’s previous presentation of Article 4, for example, the Board of Governors’ side indicated they wished to treat Articles 4, 5, and 6 as a package. They also indicated they were unprepared to hear ULFA presentations on Articles 36 and 12, asking ULFA to present Article 12 in the upcoming session instead. As always, you can follow the status of individual articles here.

Board ULFA
15 Academic Assistants/Instructors
35 Sessional Lecturers
Schedule A
Schedule B (price quotes)
4 Applications and exclusions (accepting Board proposal of March 21)
5 Recognition
6 Communication
12 Criteria for Extension of Probation (etc) (to be presented April 4)
36 Equity (to be held back pending further discussion)

Negotiations for the last several weeks have been held under an informal agreement between the two sides to focus on core mandate issues. As noted in previous postings, this means exploring the degree to which the two sides may be able to settle according to a provincial template, whereby unions have been receiving smaller-than-otherwise-expected financial awards in exchange for significant improvements in job security and other terms and conditions. In addition to agreeing provisionally to exploring this template, ULFA’s negotiating team has also provisionally agreed to suspend further discussion of a significant reorganisation of the former Sessionals and Faculty Handbooks during the current round of bargaining, in exchange for concessions on terms and conditions and a Memorandum of Understanding that the proposed rearrangement will be the basis of negotiations in the next round.

This approach has resulted in considerable movement at the table on both sides on big issues. It has also made more apparent the areas where the two sides are going to have more difficulty reaching resolution.  The next few sessions are very important and will likely be strong indicators of whether this approach will lead to settlement or a reopening of broader negotiations.

ULFA Annual General Meeting April 8th, 2019

Members are cordially invited to the ULFA Annual General Meeting on Monday, April 8th, 2019 at 12pm in room PE275. Please refer to the AGM 2019 Agenda. Lunch and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be available.

For those of you who are unable to attend the meeting in person, WebEx videoconferencing will be available, but please make arrangements with Aaron Chubb or call 403-329-2578 before April 5th, 2019 and I will ensure you receive the meeting invite.

 

Bargaining Update March 21

Bargaining teams for ULFA and the Board of Governors met on Thursday March 21 to continue negotiations. This meeting was part of a series of weekly dates supplied by ULFA in response to a request from the Board of Governors on February 21.

During the meeting, ULFA presented its response to the Board’s most recent proposals on Articles 15 (Instructors/Academic Assistants), 35 (Sessional Lecturers), and Schedule A (Salary), while the Board of Governors responded to ULFA’s latest versions of Articles 4 (Applications and exclusions), 5 (Recognition), and 6 (Communication). As always, you can follow the progress of negotiations for individual articles here.

ULFA Board of Governors
15 Academic Assistants/Instructors
35 Sessional Lecturers
Schedule A
4 Applications and exclusions
5 Recognition
6 Communication

Negotiations during this session were conducted in keeping with a proposal from the February 21 meeting that the two sides would focus in the short term on core “mandate” issues in the hopes of reaching an expedited settlement. As part of this agreement, the two sides agreed to work on the basis of the “provincial template,” in which public sector unions in the province have considered lower-than-otherwise-expected economic proposals from management in exchange for advances in job security language and terms and conditions.

The resulting discussions have been largely positive, with considerable movement on both sides; if current progress continues, we may be close to reaching agreement in principle on  Articles 4, 5, 15, and 35. At the same time, the two sides appear to be finding less room to manoeuvre in the case of Article 6 (Communication). Here the particular sticking points involve transparency in the event of a breach of member data and the provision of letters of appointment (which constitute part of the contract between members and the university) to ULFA as Members’ exclusive bargaining agent.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again on Wednesday March 27, with weekly meeting continuing through to the end of April, if necessary.

Bargaining update March 14

ULFA and representatives of the Board of Governors met on Thursday March 14. This was the third meeting since the two sides agreed to investigate an expedited approach to resolving negotiations by focussing on the core elements of each side’s mandate.

As agreed in our meeting on February 21, the first two meetings under this new approach involved presentations on Articles 4-6 (Applications and Exclusions; Recognition; and Communication and Information). This third meeting, on March 14, was to focus on Articles 15 (Instructors/Academic Assistants) and “35” (Sessional Lecturers). ULFA was also able to bring a response to the Board’s latest proposals on Articles 4-6. Finally, in conjunction with their proposals for 15 and 35, the Board of Governors offered new language on Schedules A and B. As always you can follow the progress of individual articles here.

Board of Governors ULFA
15 Academic Assistants/Instructors
35 Sessional Lecturers
Schedule A
Schedule B
4 Applications and exclusions
5 Recognition
6 Communication

In their proposals for these Articles, the Board of Governors addressed a number of elements in the two sides’ mandates. As is the case with Articles 4-6, the two sides appear to be narrowing the differences in a constructive and creative fashion. While there are still significant and serious areas of disagreement, the last three weeks have seen movement on both sides.

In addition to presenting language, the two sides also arranged a number of additional negotiating days, with meetings scheduled each week through the end of April.

ALRB rationale released

On Monday March 11, the ALRB released a detailed and technical rationale for its February 20th ruling in favour of the Board of Governors on Bridging. You can find the full decision here. You can follow the issues at stake in the ruling starting here and here. As noted in our February 21st blog, this decision means that the status quo continues, in which the Board of Governors didn’t pay COLA increases after the expiration of the previous contract pending any new arrangements in this round of negotiations.