During that bargaining, AU finally gave up on its demands for major language rollbacks and it looked like things were progressing towards an agreement.
Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case. Here’s an update:
1. AU and its support staff (represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees) have concluded a three-year collective agreement and AUPE members have ratified it. The deal includes two zeros, a wage re-opener, and some slight language and benefit improvements (i.e., it is a pattern deal).
2. AUFA has rejected AU’s offer to two zeros and some tiny language improvements as inadequate. This offer is not consistent with the provincial settlement pattern in either its length or in what is being offered in exchange for two zeros.
3. AU has not responded to AUFA’s most recent offer (two zeros, two year re-opener, modest language gains on term staff).
4. AU is not responding to two AUFA emails querying whether AU would like to meet again and when. AU's own labour relations website says that it has asked AUFA for new dates, but that isn’t true (so much for transparency!). AUFA is left with the option of forcing an AU Board vote on AUFA’s last offer.
5. AU’s bargaining website also reminisces about February bargaining:
AU and AUFA discussed how the university’s relationship with its team members and AUFA is ongoing. Bargaining, while important, is an episode within our longer relationship.
No one on the AUFA bargaining team can remember any conversation like that. So, instead of providing “information and updates on what’s happening at the university”, AU’s bargaining website seems to be some sort of effort at collective-bargaining fan fiction. So much for respect!
6. After more than a month of delay, AU has indicated it wants to meet again to discuss an essential services agreement (ESA). But AU won't clarify if it has changed its position that an ESA is unnecessary. And AU is not available to meet until late March. In the meantime, AU is opposing AUFA’s application at the labour board for a temporary ESA waiver so the parties can move onto formal mediation.
7. AU won’t answer renewed questions about whether it received a formal and binding mandate from the government. During this round of bargaining, AU has at least twice indicated at the table it did not have such a mandate. Yet, there is growing circumstantial evidence that it did (and does) have a government mandate (more on that in a future blog post). It is hard to bargain when one doesn't know with whom one is bargaining.
So, basically, while AU will conclude a pattern deal with its support staff, it won’t conclude one with its faculty. Instead, AU appears to prefer stalling and spinning doctoring.
Which is weird, because AU is demonstrablyunready for a work stoppage and this poor behaviour is moving AU closer to that very outcome.
-- Bob Barnetson