June 14th, 2024

U of L support workers ratify new collective agreement

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 16, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

University of Lethbridge support workers and the U of L have accepted terms of a new collective agreement that was recommended by a mediator.

Wage increases of 1.25 per cent on April 1, 2023 and 1.5 per cent on Dec. 1, 2023 are included in the agreement.

If certain economic measures are met in Alberta, workers will also see another 0.5 per cent increase next Dec. 1, said the Alberta Union or Provincial Employees Thursday.

In a media statement, AUPE vice-president Darren Graham said, “this has been a tough round of negotiations. Bargaining was hampered by the Alberta government imposing a tight mandate on post-secondary institutions across the province.”

The AUPE release said the Alberta finance minister directed the Provincial Bargaining Co-ordination Office to set the agenda for bargaining with public sector workers.

“The PBCO’s mandate for post-secondary employers was so restrictive that it didn’t give the employers the ability to negotiate in ways that suited their individual needs. This led to negotiations being harder and longer than necessary,” said Graham in the release.

“Despite this, our negotiations team was able to get improvements in the collective agreement that will benefit workers. There will be new personal leave days, improvements to the coverage of prescriptions, improved language on health and safety and a better workload-review process,” said Graham. The union also got job security until March 31.

The AUPE says the deal is in line with other agreements that have been signed in the post-secondary sector.

U of L president and vice-chancellor Mike Mahon in a statement on the university’s website said on Thursday “I am pleased that both parties have ratified the mediator’s recommendations and that a new collective agreement will be finalized.

“The new agreement recognizes the critical roles AUPE members undertake on behalf of the university. Their collective efforts contribute to the programs and supports provided to our students as well as enable and support the work of all colleagues on our campuses. The new agreement also supports the University’s ability to provide affordable and high-quality educational opportunities to its students.”

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