Dear AASUA Members, 

I would like to briefly update you on the status of Collective Bargaining between AASUA and the Board of Governors.

The AASUA Bargaining Team met with the Employer’s Bargaining Team on January 27, 2022. 

The Employer presented us their “counter compensation proposals” as well as revised language proposals. A summary of the Employer’s January 27, 2022 compensation proposals can be found here. AASUA’s January 14/21, 2022 compensation proposals can be found here.

The Employer's latest compensation proposals are not even remotely consistent with the compensation offers that other Employers at other Alberta universities have made. 

Specifically, the Employer’s January 27, 2022 proposals contain:

  • Four year contract term (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2024) with 0% ATB each year. For comparison, the Employer ATB proposals at the University of Lethbridge and Mount Royal University have ATB increases potentially up to 4.25% in the last two years of a proposed 4-year contract term.  Not only does the Employer’s ATB proposal absolutely guarantee that average faculty salaries at the University of Alberta, already dead last compared to all other U15 universities in Ontario and BC, will continue to decline relative to our peer group, the effects of current inflation will significantly erode members current purchasing power even over the short term.
  • Reducing the salary maximums for Associate and Full Lecturers to $100,100 for all “new” ATS hires on or after July 1, 2023, thereby introducing a two-tier salary grid structure for ATS. For Full Lecturers this corresponds to an approximately 12% reduction in their salary maximum and effectively reducing the number of grid steps for Full Lecturers from seven to four.
  • Outright rejection of AASUA’s proposal to modestly increase the number of steps for all capped salary grids. Although the Employer proposes to increase the value of the merit increment for Assistant and Associated Professors, no similar increase is offered in the identical, directly related and deliberately constructed ATS Assistant and Associate Lecturer and FSO 2 and 3 merit increments, respectively.  The proposed increase in the maximum salary for Associate Professors is not a consequence of any additional steps being offered  in the Associate Professor salary grid. It still represents 13 steps above the salary minimum. In addition, the Employer proposes that only 50% of the Professor III increment would go to base salary, which will negatively impact salary growth associated with future ATB increases and, moreover, negatively impact annual UAPP pension entitlement thus potentially reducing the ultimate UAPP pension that can be earned by a faculty member.
  • Radical restructuring of the Academic Benefits Plan including “confiscating” the accumulated many million dollar “surplus” within the Benefits Plan meant to offset short term cost fluctuations and the introduction of measures that undermine the existing financial stability and collegial co-management of the Benefits Plan. In addition, the Employer has outright rejected AASUA proposals to improve pay-in-lieu of benefits to those members who are not eligible for the Benefits Plan.
  • Effective the date of ratification, the Academic Supplementary Retirement Plan, which provides modest pension accumulation for salary earned in excess of the maximum pensionable salary associated with the UAPP up to a negotiated salary limit, would be closed to new participants and no further contributions would be made for existing participants. This pension benefit is important to, at least, nearly all faculty as their career progresses. The Employer proposes to effectively end this pension benefit for AASUA members while at the same time suggesting that it is appropriate that the President and Vice-Presidents and all other out-of-scope management and professional staff continue to be covered by their own, and in some cases substantially more generous, supplementary pension plans.

It is the view of the Bargaining Team that while we believe that we can likely achieve agreement at the bargaining table on “language” issues, the two parties are sufficiently far apart on “compensation” issues that coming to agreement at the bargaining table on compensation is unlikely. It is particularly discouraging to note that while every member will materially suffer under the Employer’s compensation proposals, faculty and ATS, the two groups principally responsible for the vast majority of in-person or online teaching, are singled out for additional targeted compensation cuts.

Accordingly, the Bargaining Team has filed for Formal Mediation under Section 65 of the Labour Code. It is our fervent hope that with the expert help of a skilled Mediator we can come to a fair collective agreement on all outstanding issues with the Employer.

 No to two-tier salary scales!

No to robbing the Benefits Plan of its surplus!

No to reducing pensions!

Yes to a fair cost-of-living adjustment!

Respectfully Submitted,

Gordon E. Swaters

AASUA Lead Negotiator