Press Release: ULFA Files Unfair Labour Practice Complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board

Posted March 2, 2022 at 12:35pm

CKXU has received the following Press Release from The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA).

Below is a transcription of the letter for Screenreaders.

Transcription for Screenreaders

-For Immediate Release-

Today, the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) filed an Unfair Labour Practice complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) against the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge.

The complaint alleges that the Board of Governors has refused to bargain seriously throughout the current round of negotiations, which began in 2020, engaging in “surface bargaining” — in which a party shows up at the negotiating table but refuses to engage seriously with the other party’s proposals — or, more recently, refusing to bargain at all.

According to the complaint, the University Administration “has engaged in a concerted and ongoing effort to avoid genuine and productive bargaining with the Association, has continuously engaged in surface bargaining tactics throughout this round of negotiations, and is now, in the midst of a strike/lockout that is affecting the public interest, refusing to come to the table to bargain at all.”

The complaint provides examples of what ULFA alleges is two years’ of bad faith practices on the part of the administration: refusing to specify positions at the table, failing to provide required information, arriving unprepared to negotiating and mediation sessions, failing to respond to union proposals in a clear and timely fashion, and providing inconsistent information about the status of negotiations in public statements and filings with the ALRB.

As recently as this past weekend, ULFA alleges, the Board of Governors falsely accused the union of refusing to meet to negotiate. ULFA has never refused to meet with the Board in the course of this round of negotiations. The Board of Governors, on the other hand has refused in writing to meet with ULFA on three different occasions since the strike/lockout began.

“This is simply the most recent example of a pattern we have seen again and again over the past two years,” ULFA Chief Spokesperson Locke Spencer said. “Repeated failures to take seriously the Board of Governor’s obligation to negotiate in good faith under the Labour Code.”

“It is the students that suffer most,” ULFA President Dan O’Donnell agreed. “We are not the only university in Alberta suffering under budget cuts and a secret government mandate. And yet when it comes to settling our differences and keeping students in classes, only the University of Lethbridge Board of Governors seems unable to make the hard but fair choices that are required to get our students back to class.”

In contrast to the University of Lethbridge, several other universities in Alberta and elsewhere in the country have recently managed to settle difficult labour disputes with minimal or no disruption to classes.

At Concordia University of Edmonton, students returned to classes after a nine-day work stoppage.

At Mount Royal University in Calgary, students remained in classes after the Board and union reached a settlement in last-minute mediation.

At the University of Alberta in Edmonton, students remain in classes as the two sides extend formal mediation.

At the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, students are returning to class today after management and the union settled a two week strike.

As remedies, the complaint asks the ALRB to provide four years of annual financial statements and to require the two sides to meet under the oversight of a provincial mediator.

“It may be that this is the only way we’ll be able to reach agreement,” ULFA bargaining team member Joy Morris said. “It’s worked everywhere else. After two years of spinning our wheels, it’s time we get this settled and start catching up on the semester.”

— 30 —

Media Contacts

Dan O’Donnell
ULFA President
[email protected]
Cell: 403-393-2539

Joy Morris
ULFA Negotiating Team
[email protected]
Home: 403-524-3228

Locke Spencer
ULFA Lead Negotiator
[email protected]
Cell: 403-849-2003

Julia Brassolotto
ULFA Communications
[email protected]

Please contact [email protected] with any omissions or errors in our transcription.