January 31, 2022 U of A Bargaining Update

31 January 2022

Academic staff collective bargaining moves to mediation

The University and AASUA have been in collective bargaining since November 2020. In this time, we have held 34 meetings working to achieve a negotiated renewal collective agreement. 

At the most recent meeting on January 27, 2022, the university responded to proposals presented by AASUA on January 14 and 21, 2022 by tabling a comprehensive counter-proposal and offering additional bargaining dates and voluntary mediation. On January 28, AASUA applied under the Labour Relations Code for formal mediation. This means that a neutral third-party will be appointed by the Government of Alberta to work with the parties to try and reach an agreement.

Key elements of the university’s current proposal entering mediation include:

  • withdrawal of a proposed -3% wage reduction, with counter-proposal of no wage increases over the 4-year term
  • withdrawal of all proposed cost reductions to the health benefits plan
  • a cost-neutral proposal that enhances entitlements with application to the broader membership:
    • the effective closure of the ASRP (a benefit that only applies to those who earn above $190,470), in exchange for:
    • increases to all sabbatical payments to 95%
    • increases to professional leave payments to 100%
    • increases to the amount of eligible dental claim reimbursements
    • adding psychologist services to the benefits plan 
  • a reduction of the maximum salary for Associate and Full Lecturers to $100,100, effective only for those appointed for the first time on or after July 1, 2023.
  • withdrawal of the proposed faculty salary abatement model, and replaced with a revised proposal that includes:
    • no change to the three merit increment values at the Full Professor rank (once salary reaches $150,941 the merit increment would be paid 50% to salary and 50% via lump sum)
    • increases to the merit increment value at the Associate and Assistant ranks
      • For Associate: a 3.5% increase in the merit increment value (from $3,271 to $3,388) and a 3.5% increase to the salary maximum (from $137,003 to $141,795)
      • For Assistant: a 14% increase in the merit increment value (from $2,552 to $2,912)

The university is seeking a renewal collective agreement that is affordable and sustainable. In 2022/23, the U of A will need to absorb a third year of major reductions to our provincial funding–over three years our provincial funding will have been cut by 34%, or approximately $224M. AASUA’s current proposal would cost in excess of $100M over the life of the agreement and in excess of $50M annually going forward. In the context of the university’s current financial reality, AASUA’s current proposed increases are neither affordable nor sustainable. The university's current proposal ensures that we can continue to deliver on our core mission of teaching, research, and community engagement to the benefit of our students, employees, alumni, supporters, stakeholders and broader community.

While it is clear that the two parties have significant issues to resolve, negotiations are ongoing and the university remains committed to reaching a negotiated collective agreement with AASUA. Both parties also agreed to meet again on February 4 to address, and if possible resolve, outstanding non-monetary items.

From the outset, the university has recognized that this would be a very challenging round of collective bargaining. Prolonged negotiations are not in the best interests of our employees or our students. We welcome mediation as another opportunity to reach settlement and bring much needed stability to our community.

University and NASA resume negotiations

Negotiations between the university and NASA resume on February 3, 2022. We are committed to reaching a sustainable negotiated collective agreement with NASA. Upcoming meeting dates are available here.