Frequently Asked Questions: Negotiations

If you don't see an answer to a question you have, please submit your question to AASUA Communications.

Labour Terminology

Unions protect the rights of employees and allow them to establish good working conditions for every member of the union. Unions have been very powerful for expanding the rights of workers, limiting working hours, implementing health and safety regulations, winning rights to things like pensions and parental leave, and fighting against discrimination.
Teacher unions have long noted that “teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.” Academic unions like AASUA ensure that the working conditions at the University of Alberta allow the faculty to provide the kind of quality education University of Alberta prides itself on. An important part of this is making sure there are enough professors, instructors, academic administrators, and librarians, working under fair and reasonable conditions, so that students have access to the world-class education that the university promises.

Collective bargaining is the negotiation of a collective agreement between a union of employees and an employer . Collective bargaining is a legal process that dictates the terms and conditions of employment. In Alberta, the process is regulated by the Alberta Labour Relations Code.
Within the U of A context, this means negotiation between AASUA and the Board of Governors (BoG) (i.e., those who are responsible for the University’s finances) regarding the terms of employment for AASUA members.

Job action is either a strike initiated by AASUA, or a lockout initiated by the administration. Strike or lockout happens in accordance with the process set out in the Alberta Labour Relations Code AASUA and the Employer will be negotiating an Essential Services Agreement which is required under the Alberta Labour Relations Code should job action occur. The legislated definition of essential services are public services that if interrupted would endanger the life, personal safety, or health of the public.

Negotiations 2024

AASUA is the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta created under the Post-Secondary Learning Act. AASUA is the union representing all academic faculty, academic teaching staff, administrative and professional officers, trust/research academic staff, librarians, temporary librarians, and faculty service officers at the University of Alberta. It is the largest post-secondary union in Canada, representing approximately 3900 members.

As the union, AASUA represents academic staff members and is the bargaining agent for all of these constituency groups. It negotiates with the University of Alberta’s Board of Governors, which includes the President and members appointed by the Government of Alberta.

AASUA is run by an Executive of representatives elected by its members and supported by dedicated staff members and labour experts. As well, Council is the body of elected representatives that sets policy for the organization. The union advocates for its members on workplace issues such as compensation and benefits, health and safety conditions, workload, and equity. You can learn more about AASUA here.

AASUA members’ contract expires June 30, 2024. AASUA served notice to the Board of Governors to commence bargaining for a renewed contract earlier this year, kicking off the collective bargaining process. As part of negotiating a new contract, AASUA is looking to improve the working conditions of educators and researchers, and in turn, improve the learning experience at the U of A. The issues in this round of bargaining centre around equity and fairness, working conditions, and compensation. You can hear directly from AASUA Executive why this round of bargaining matters for librarians, educators, researchers, and academic administrators by going here.

Yes. AASUA is committed to negotiating an agreement that is fiscally sound, economically sustainable, and invests strategically to strengthen the University of Alberta and make it a better place for researchers and educators to do their work, and for students to learn and grow.

The University of Alberta has taken massive cuts in provincial funding in the past few years, but the Board of Governors has made demands based on their own priorities, not because of the cuts. For the last fiscal year (2022-23), the University ran a surplus of over $72.3M, with an accumulated surplus of $2.1 BILLION. This leaves a great deal of room to meet what AASUA is asking for. The below-competitive salaries of AASUA members are not creating any budget crisis; rather the administration is using the provincial funding cuts as a pretext to redistribute resources to higher levels through the restructuring process.


  • Lead Negotiator, Cherie Klassen
  • Brian Fleck, Professor, Faculty of Engineering
  • Valentina Kozlova, Full Teaching Professor, Faculty of Arts
  • Camille Laforest, Collection Strategies Librarian
  • Gordon Swaters, AASUA President, ex officio

With resource persons:

  • Brygeda Renke, Executive Director & General Counsel
  • Leanne Rosinski, Associate Director, Labour Relations
  • Aly Koskela, Senior Labour Relations Officer
  • Kelly MacFarlane, Full Teaching Professor, Faculty of Arts
  • Beth Powell, Full Lecturer, Faculty of Science



In the past, the Employer has said they would lock academic staff out of their ualberta email accounts. To ensure AASUA can always reach you about bargaining updates, please go to

For now, keep an eye on emails for AASUA meetings on the status of negotiations, and check the AASUA website for updates. You can also follow our social media to receive updates.

Help ensure the voices of educators and researchers are front and centre during this negotiations. Amplify our asks by urging the Board of Governers to centre the best interests of the U of A by negotiating a fair and equitable deal that doesn’t sacrifice our quality of education. Expressions of support, as well as any inquiries, can be directed to AASUA President Gordon Swaters via email.

If you have not done so already, please pass on your non-ualberta contract info to make sure we can always contact you, even if the Employer locks us out of our ualberta email accounts

The participation of all AASUA members is essential for ensuring our union’s success in this round of negotiations. Stay informed, talk to your colleagues, and keep asking questions. Check our bargaining bulletins on the AASUA website.Contact your Constituency Director directly with any questions, concerns, or offers to help. Share AASUA’s social media posts to help get our message out to the broader university community, and public.