June 18th, 2024

U of L withdraws application to delay strike action


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 9, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The University of Lethbridge has withdrawn an application before the Alberta Labour Relations Board for an urgent hearing and an interim order preventing faculty from striking.
A strike by the faculty association is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Thursday but president Dan O’Donnell said Tuesday if it goes ahead, professors will be allowed to finish their classes as part of their picket duties with their union paying for the second half of those classes.
The U of L on Tuesday said the application to the ALRB was withdrawn “in recognition of progress made at the bargaining table with the ULFA yesterday. We continue to be hopeful to avoid the onset of a faculty association strike.”
O’Donnell said bargaining teams from both sides were also meeting Tuesday and are scheduled to meet again today.
“The really important thing is that the two sides are meeting at the table,” said O’Donnell about Monday’s actions by the university.
“As long as we can keep talking, that’s how we’re going to get stuff settled because eventually we have to settle,” O’Donnell added.
But O’Donnell said the university’s actions on Monday with the application and it’s withdrawal “really actually detracts from what people are trying to do at the table.”
If a strike starts at 11 Thursday, classes already in progress won’t stop, he said.
With the U of L scheduling system, “there’s no one moment in the day when nobody is in class so what we’re going to do is at 11 o’clock anyone who is still teaching because their class goes through 12:15 or something, they will be allowed to continue teaching as part of their strike duties,” the faculty president said.
The U of L had posted on its bargaining page Monday that it submitted the application to delay strike action “until the ALRB has had sufficient time to rule on the Bad Faith Bargaining complaint” filed by the university.
The statement said the U of L had also applied to the ALRB for a lockout “which would formally close university workplaces to ULFA members. A lockout ensures a safe and consistent approach to managing the impacts of job action across a large institution with multiple worksites.”
On Monday, the university also said it expected a prolonged strike which could threaten the semester.

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