Press Release: ULFA Joins Students And Parents In Calling On Administration To Return to the Negotiating Table.
Posted February 23, 2022 at 3:50pm
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-
ULFA Joins Students in asking for U of L to return to negotiations. (Lethbridge — February 23, 2022). The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) today called on the University of Lethbridge Administration to return to bargaining.
“It’s been almost two weeks since the Board of Governors last appeared at the table,” said Rumi Graham, a member of the ULFA bargaining team. “Good faith negotiations require more than shouting at the public through blogs and tweets.”
ULFA President Dan O’Donnell said ULFA’s call echoes what he has been seeing from students and parents on social media and in last week’s Student & Parent Town Hall, hosted by ULFA.
“Nobody is fooled by the Board’s rhetoric,” O’Donnell said. “Everybody in the community can see that this is an institution that has prioritised pleasing the UCP government over the needs of its own students and faculty. Students and parents are calling on the Board to #dotheirjob and bring an end to the disruption at our university.”
The University administration published a blog post yesterday suggesting that they would not return to the table unless ULFA accepted the Board’s positions in advance.
“The way you reach agreement is by showing up to negotiate,” said Locke Spencer, ULFA’S chief spokesperson. “No lockout or strike has ever been settled by refusing to even discuss paths to solution.”
The Board of Governors has had five different chief negotiators since bargaining began over two years ago, Spencer noted. But the ULFA team has had the opportunity to meet with only three of them. “The constant changes on the Board’s side speaks to a fundamental lack of commitment to the interests of this institution, its students, and the larger community,” Spencer said.
Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) President Brenda Austin-Smith said aggressive approach taken by the University Board hurts the long-term interests of the University.
“In the end, universities are about the people that study, teach and do research in them,” said Austin-Smith. “Negotiations with the University of Lethbridge really stand out for both their lack of progress at the table and the scorched-earth approach the University’s management have taken in communicating to faculty and staff. It’s rare to see the management so unwilling to meet at the table—and so willing to attack the integrity of their employees.”
“The University of Lethbridge is noted provincially and nationally for how unwilling it has been to compromise,” Bargaining Team member Graham said.
“Elsewhere, we’ve seen administrations that are willing to work with Faculty for the good of the institution,” she said. “At the University of Lethbridge, they simply will not discuss how to find common ground.”
“We call on the Board to stop this self-destructive behaviour and get back to work,” O’Donnell said. “They should come to the bargaining table. It’s where strikes and lockouts get settled.”
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