July 19th, 2024

University strike mediation set to begin Tuesday

By Lethbridge Herald on March 12, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Striking members of the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association carry pickets on Friday outside the U of L. The faculty association and university start mediation on Tuesday.

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

The strike by the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association has entered its fourth week but mediation is planned to start on Tuesday.

The university announced on its bargaining page last Saturday that both sides had agreed to begin the mediation process with the assistance of Edmonton lawyer David Jones. Multiple sessions of enhanced mediation are planned in coming weeks.

The university said in its statement that if mediation doesn’t lead to a settlement, both sides have agreed to solicit a report and recommendations from the mediator which could form the basis of a collective agreement.

Today in Edmonton, faculty associations from across the province’s capital are staging a solidarity rally for the ULFA in front of the Alberta Legislature at 4 p.m.

“Our rally is about showing the faculty, instructors, librarians, and research staff at U of L that we have their backs and will stand up with them,” said David Powell, president of the Athabasca University Faculty Association, in a press release. “Post-secondary workers in Alberta are united with Lethbridge and face the same struggles of secret mandates and erosion of our jobs. We applaud the faculty at Lethbridge for their strong stance to defend their working conditions, as they are their students’ learning conditions.”

The university said it “remains committed to settling an agreement that respects the value of our faculty, honours our responsibilities to students and protects the university’s fundamental need for financial stability and long-term sustainability.”

In its latest bargaining update on Friday, the ULFA addressed on its website the issue of performance evaluation provisions for sessional lecturers.

The ULFA said it proposes to introduce two new clauses within Article 34 (sessional lecturers). One would provide that if no assessment of a sessional’s teaching effectiveness is received within 15 working days of submission of a letter to the dean requesting priority in future reappointments, that person’s teaching effectiveness assessment shall be deemed satisfactory.

The second clause would provide that if no effective re-evaluation is received within 15 working days of a sessional’s request for re-evaluation then that effectiveness will be deemed to be satisfactory.

The ULFA says both clauses have been included in all Article 34 proposals since negotiators tabled its full proposal package in January 2021.

The ULFA says the U of L board on Feb. 8 accepted the proposal to include those new clauses but proposed a 30-day working period. This extra time, the ULFA says, could impede a sessional’s ability to establish right of first refusal in a timely manner at the end of a fall semester if they want to be considered for re-appointment the following spring.

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Hopefully there will be a quick resolution.