The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) has sent a new offer to the University’s Board of Governors. The union says the purpose of the offer was to restart negotiations that have stalled since the faculty went on strike last Thursday.
The new proposal builds on the school’s offer to look at salary terms and conditions. The Board of Governors’ team has indicated that they are not yet prepared to discuss the offer but are considering it.
The union also says the university has added external legal counsel to their negotiating team as a new co-lead. This is the fifth person who has been named by the Board to lead or co-lead their negotiating team in the current round of bargaining and the second change in the last seven days.
“We think that the time has passed for posturing,” says ULFA Chief Bargainer Locke Spencer. “It’s time to get back to the table and focus on achieving a settlement. For two years, the Board has been unwilling to move on even trivial things that are under their control, having nothing to do with government directives. We say let’s start by making some changes there.”
ULFA president Dan O’Donnell noted that the new ULFA proposal is quite like those seen at other bargaining tables in the province.
“At other universities, we are beginning to see proposals for settlements that follow this pattern,” he said. “Financial settlements in the range we are proposing with across-the-board adjustments based on the Board’s numbers, and with significant gains in terms and conditions to compensate for lower cost- of-living adjustments. “It is only (here) that we are seeing a resistance to compromise on both money and terms and conditions.”
“Sooner or later, we will have to settle this dispute,” says negotiator Joy Morris. “The question is how long the Board is willing to let this disruption go on before it ends.”
No new talks have been scheduled.