On March 28, Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA) members picketed the Athabasca University Board of Governors Dinner in Edmonton to express their dismay with a lack of progress in negotiation for a new collective agreement. A second picket is scheduled for April 15 in the town of Athabasca.
AUFA is presently offering a four-year deal that includes:
A two-year wage freeze,
Language to prevent further abuse of precariously employed term staff, and
Additional negotiations about cost of living increases in the final two years of the agreement.
This agreement broadly mirrors settlements across Alberta’s public sector as well as the settlement Athabasca University just ratified with its support staff. It also addresses the University’s long-term mistreatment of term employees(an arbitration settlement last fall has forced the University to offer permanent appointments or make monetary settlements to numerous term employees).
The University’s Board of Governors turned down AUFA’s proposed deal during a Labour-Board-supervised vote on March 21. The University and AUFA have met 18 times since bargaining began in May of 2018. One additional bargaining date is scheduled for April 15.
The University and AUFA will be before the Labour Board to continue sorting out an essential services agreement on April 8. An essential services agreement is a prerequisite to formal mediation and a strike vote.
If a new collective agreement in not reached, 40,000 students from across Canada could be affected by a work stoppage in the early autumn. Faculty have been without a contract since June 30, 2018.