Academic Staff Collective Agreement Negotiations (ULFA) Clarification

February 2, 2021

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021 ULFA’s negotiating team posted a blog that described key components of the Board negotiating team’s proposals, speculating on the meaning of specific content therein.  While it is understood that ULFA has a right to keep its Members apprised of the status of negotiations, the Board was surprised by ULFA’s decision to publish details of  Board  proposals prior to any discussion or contextualization between the Parties, which has been our normal mode of interaction in negotiations. However, ULFA’s January 26th blog raises general and specific concerns that are addressed here.

Board proposals contain a multitude of improvements to existing language which, if adopted, will yield benefits for ULFA Members. It is not Board practice to negotiate in public. The negotiating table is the proper and appropriate place for such interaction and discussion.

Since ULFA’s January 26, 2021 blog contained numerous mis-interpretations of Board proposals, a few of the most significant ones are corrected, for the record, below.

  1. Board negotiations with ULFA did not break down in Fall. There was a disagreement on the manner in which negotiations would proceed. Following a review of this, the Parties agreed on a mutually acceptable way forward.
  2. Board proposals clarify collective agreement language with respect to academic freedom, highlighting that this set of rights comes with obligations, as is true of all rights.
  3. Board proposals with respect to Members' rights affirm the right of representation, but clarify that a Dean has the right to meet with and supervise academic staff in their unit without union interference.
  4. Board proposals dealing with Term and Sessional Appointment contracts are structured so as to reduce unnecessary barriers to mutually acceptable terms and conditions.
  5. Board proposals do not reduce the funds available for distribution relative to career progress and merit increment processes.

The economic situation faced by the University is well-known to members of the University Community. These considerations are covered in detail on the University’s budget information Web Site. Some key considerations with regard to these factors, and how they affect the negotiating environment were covered in the earlier news item posted to this Web Site.

Please return to this Web Site for further updates. Thank you for your interest.