The University of Lethbridge says it is increasingly concerned about the impacts of the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) strike on students and what they are calling the union’s refusal to meet at the negotiating table. The labour disruption is now into day 17 with no talks scheduled.
In a written statement, the university says their provincial grant has been slashed by more than 20 per cent since 2019, equaling about $21M in annual provincial funding. They also say they have made has made significant contributions and sacrifices to deal with the funding gap, including:
- 21% tuition increases for students
- 0% raises for non-union workers since 2015
- 85 non-ULFA jobs lost through attrition and layoffs
- no new hires for 17 academic vacancies
The University also says it has ensured faculty members remain well-compensated and their jobs protected throughout this time:
- Over the last decade, our faculty have enjoyed 34% raises through their collective agreement.
- Median salaries for assistant, associate and full professors range from $108,000 to $178,000 per year.
- Nearly 30% of faculty earn between $140,000 to $260,000 per year.
During mediation in January, the University says it offered faculty members a 3.25 per cent raise, in addition to other raises faculty already receive for career progression and merit. As a result, the school and union were within a 1% salary gap, but the school says the union responded by pulling out of the mediation process and demanding 12% raises.
The statement goes on to say that despite contrary claims, the union has refused repeated invitations to meet since February 15 to discuss more reasonable salary demands.