The recently completed round of ULFA bargaining town halls was well-attended, despite many competing demands as we begin a new school year in exceptional times. There was good attendance from all units and segments of the Bargaining Unit at each of the three meetings, during which Members received an update on our bargaining environment and the current round of Collective Agreement negotiations.
ULFA Chief Bargaining Spokesperson Dan O’Donnell summarized key factors influencing collective bargaining in the province and reviewed the ULFA bargaining mandate. Job Action Committee Chair Ran Barley, spoke briefly about the importance of job action preparedness and encouraged members interested in learning more or participating in preparations for job action to join the Committee. The latter half of each town hall unfolded as an open Q & A session. Some members of the 2020 Negotiating Team and ULFA Executive, along with the Chief Bargaining Spokesperson, participated in the discussions.
Examples of the wide range of Q & A topics that arose were the distinction between providing informed peer review assessments of academic work, and making managerial decisions about the outcomes of such assessments; workload issues; COVID’s inequitable impacts on academic women and gender-based analyses to help correct such imbalances; different ways of undertaking meaningful job action during a pandemic; and broad and deep concern about achieving equity on many fronts, many of which existed pre-COVID.
There was also a review of the 2019-2020 mandate as passed by members in the early spring, with a discussion of its continuing — and indeed increased — relevance as we begin the 2020-2021 academic year.
Many thanks to all who participated in these town halls. For members who were unable to attend, as always, feel free to reach out to any member of the Bargaining Resource Team or Negotiation Team if you have questions or suggestions. Your interest, concerns raised, and support continue to sustain ULFA as a strong bargaining unit.
The ULFA Negotiating team has had two meetings with the Board team in the current round of bargaining (June 8, 2020 and July 24, 2020). The Negotiating team met on September 17 to discuss issues coming out of the Town Halls and prepare for the September 22 collective bargaining meeting with the employer.