June 16th, 2024

Return to mediation next week for U of L union negotiations

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 3, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The University of Lethbridge and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees are heading back to mediation Tuesday in efforts to sign a new contract.

Darren Graham, a AUPE vice-president said Friday that mediation efforts conducted on Nov. 24-25 weren’t successful to reach an agreement so the two sides went into a 14-day cooling off period.

Late Thursday afternoon, the U of L Board of Governors and university indicated they want to go back to the table with the union, said Graham.

The AUPE members affected at the U of L are support staff, said Graham, a total of about 500 employees.

They include caretakers, administration professionals, maintenance staff, “all the people that make sure that the buildings are running,” said Graham. They also include people involved in scholarships, IT, library staff, academic advisors, registrars and others.

“They’ve only had two pay increases since 2016 so they’re falling behind in their compensation and their benefits drastically,” added Graham.

“The members at the site care about students” and have no interest in going on strike, said Graham.

“The best thing would be to get a negotiated settlement or mediated settlement at the table,” he added.

In a statement on its website, the university said it “remains hopeful that a new collective agreement can be achieved.”

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