ULFA STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH ANTI-RACISM MOVEMENTS

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, and related anti-racism protests, remind us of the long path still ahead towards the achievement of equity and dignity for all. ULFA stands in solidarity with this cause and affirms its continued commitment to contribute to a fairer institution and society. Racist and intersectional discriminatory practices are experienced by our Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) members, often recurrently, including on campus. In the face of the recent events and their aftermath, ULFA reiterates its commitment to support the right of every member to “a safe workplace free from unfair discrimination, harassment, or abuse of authority” (U of L Academic Staff Collective Agreement, Article 11.02.2) and to the realization of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action. It is time that we all learn from the experiences of those around us and give our time and energy to the fulfillment of changes, big and small, to create an institution and society free from racism and colonialism.

ULFA Award Application

This award is for students who are the spouse, common-law partner, child or step-child of ULFA members and
are enrolled full-time at a post-secondary institution.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. Applicants are responsible to ensure all
requirements are met as Scholarships and Student Finance will not verify if submitted applications meet all
requirements prior to the deadline.

Value:
• Variable, minimum equivalent to tuition for one 3.0-credit University of Lethbridge course
• Available funds will be divided equally among qualifying students
• Children whose parents are both ULFA members can receive this award twice (via one application)

Eligibility:
• Students who are the spouse, common-law partner, child, or step-child of dues-paying statutory
member(s) of the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA)
• Students must be enrolled full-time at a post-secondary institution (university, college or technical
institution)

Criteria:
Applicants must have completed ONE of the following:
• 10 semester courses (or equivalent) of baccalaureate program with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70
(or equivalent)
• 20 semester courses in a program that began at a college and transferred to a baccalaureate program
with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70 (or equivalent)
• First year of any trade apprenticeship. Must provide proof of final exam grade from Alberta and Industry
Training, which must be no less than 83%
• No student may receive this award more than twice

Application Requirements:
□ Signed and dated application form (by applicant only)
□ Official Transcripts. Students studying outside the University of Lethbridge must supply Official
Transcripts in order for their application to be considered complete. Transcripts are considered official
when they bear the seal of the issuing institution’s Registrar and are issued directly from the Registrar
in a sealed envelope. Official transcripts may be appended to an application or sent directly from the
issuing institution’s Registrar to:Attn: Scholarships and Student Finance
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
T1K 3M4
□ Current enrolment confirmation. Students studying outside the University of Lethbridge must also
supply confirmation of current enrolment. If not indicated on Official Transcripts, a copy of current
course registration/schedule is acceptable.

Click here for full details and Application – ULFA Award Application 2020

COVID-19 and Equity

There has been one underlying and recurrent theme to the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic: it is ultimately all about equity. Everything—from the demographics associated with rates of infection, treatment outcomes, occupational setting and outbreaks, front lines, job losses, domestic violence, power grabs, the profits of crisis capitalism—is a massive resurfacing of the inadequacy of social structures to absorb, or fairly distribute, the direct and indirect damage caused by a virus that is far from acting as the ‘great equalizer’ that some hypothesized at first. Where the effects have been devastating, the greatest damage has, in fact, been inflicted by the social structures themselves, which have enabled rather than mitigated a biological ‘agent’ that should have been more vulnerable than it has been to the might of fully informed and politically willed humans. The pandemic, instead, moves around the world as if it were an X-ray machine, scanning and exposing the inner fragility of social structures and political commitment. Progress on many equity issues is set to be reversed (appalling evidence around us is the disparity in child well-being and schooling during the lockdown, to name just one instance). Clearly, even in places relatively spared the ravages of political neglect, the fabric of equity is not yet solid enough.

Equity work has never been more relevant. If there used to be times when some thought that on the one hand you had ‘central’ issues and on the other hand you had equity, this crisis should make it clear and transparent that there are no such things as ‘central’ issues that are not ultimately, and in more than one way, about equity. In university contexts, most adjustments to the pandemic and its economic consequences (in addition to the budgetary crisis) are about equity, because there cannot be a fair conversation about jobs, salaries, workload, etc. without an equity perspective in mind. To the extent that we are not all on equal ground (and we currently are not) equity considerations must be integral to all and any responses to the COVID-19 and budgetary crises as an institution.

Thanks to all of you that support and help inform the work of the GEDC. Currently we are busy (during a time of the year that the committee usually slows down) doing work towards the formulation of equity-related bargaining items that members overwhelmingly voted to include in ULFA’s bargaining mandate.  These include salary equity, bias training, appropriate parameters for the evaluation of the work of Indigenous faculty, and a place for student evaluations of teaching that concurs with best practice at Canadian institutions today. Work was completed earlier in the year towards formulating a proposal for having service recognized in the STP process. The list of work needed is much longer, but these are meaningful steps. Of note, we are formulating this as a package; because inequities are systemic, the solution ought to be approached systemically as well. No isolated equity measure can be expected to stand by itself successfully.

Here we include a few selected, equity-related resources that may serve members to think about issues emerging from the current circumstances, which are particularly relevant to faculty members:

Airtime and equity in zoom meetings:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/us/zoom-meetings-gender.html

Gender and research during the pandemic:
https://theconversation.com/women-are-getting-less-research-done-than-men-during-this-coronavirus-pandemic-138073

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/21/early-journal-submission-data-suggest-covid-19-tanking-womens-research-productivity

The widening gap between tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty:
https://www.chronicle.com/article/Covid-19-Crisis-Widens-Divide/248276

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2020/04/30/covid-19-shows-how-precarious-positions-contingent-faculty-actually-are-opinion

Teaching evaluations during the pandemic:
https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/04/08/many-colleges-are-abandoning-or-downgrading-student-evaluations

https://academeblog.org/2020/04/17/suspend-student-evaluations-during-pandemic/

Women suffer greater job losses and at risk of becoming invisible in the workplace:
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-women-out-of-the-work-place-cant-become-the-new-normal/

On the need of government responses that are informed by equity:
https://canadianwomen.org/blog/gender-lens-on-covid-19/

These and other issues of immediate consequence for members, such as consideration given to caregivers in PAR evaluations for the upcoming cycle(s), are on ULFA’s radar and have been raised in various contexts already. Please bring to us any other concerns, questions, and suggestions for future work. Thanks again!

ULFA’s Gender, Equity and Diversity Committee

Andrea Cuéllar, Beth Gerwin, Michelle Hogue, Jeffrey MacCormick, Jennifer Mather, Gülden Özcan, Conor Snoek and Michael Stingl.

ULFA and Board hold first Negotiating Meeting

Background

On June 4, ULFA’s Negotiating Team met with the University of Lethbridge Board of Governors’ Negotiating Team. The meeting was conducted virtually using the Zoom platform. With our Collective Agreement set to expire on June 30, 2020, ULFA had issued a Notice to Bargain on April 16. The Alberta Labour Relations Code calls for an initial meeting to be held within 30 days, but the difficulty of coordinating schedules under the COVID crisis resulted in delays to the timing of this meeting.

ULFA’s Negotiating Team consists of Dan O’Donnell (Chief Spokesperson), Olu Awosoga, Rumi Graham, Adam Letourneau, Joy Morris, and Rob Sutherland, with Aaron Chubb as a resource person. Mary Kavanagh and Claudia Steinke also joined this meeting as observers, and Eva Cool joined as an additional resource person to help with technological issues.

The Board’s Negotiating Team consists of Chris Nicol (Chair), Robert Wood (Vice-chair), Michelle Helstein and Linda van der Velde. Dr. Wood and Dr. Helstein were unable to attend this meeting.

The intent of this first meeting is to establish protocols and introduce negotiations. According to the Labour Code, the parties must exchange their first proposals at a subsequent meeting, to be held within 15 days, unless they mutually agree otherwise.

What Happened

The meeting was very cordial in tone. Both sides acknowledged the challenges and uncertainties we are currently facing on many fronts.

The Board advised ULFA that due to a series of new appointments recently announced in senior administration (in particular the appointment of Dr. Wood as Acting VP Research and the appointment of Dr. Helstein as Acting Vice-Provost), there may be changes forthcoming to the composition of their Negotiating Team. They will advise us when any decisions are made.

In response to a request by the Board, ULFA clarified that in its proposal (from the Notice to Bargain) to extend the end date of our Collective Agreement, we had a one-year formal extension of the Collective Agreement in mind. While we are prepared to begin negotiations otherwise, as required by the Code, a formal extension would recognise and accommodate the unique situation we are in.

The sides mutually agreed to extend the 15-day deadline for the next meeting, with a goal of meeting again in three to four weeks. In the meantime, ULFA will prepare a draft Memorandum of Understanding formally extending the end date of our Collective Agreement for consideration.

CAFA: PIA Letter

Dear Minister Nicolaides:

We, the undersigned, are writing to you to emphasize the critical contributions being made by Alberta post-secondary institutions in this time of crisis. While our schools have suffered under these extraordinary circumstances, our faculty, staff, and students have come together to give back to the community in managing the pandemic. There is no doubt to the crucial contributions post-secondary institutions are making for Albertans today.

Read Letter Here