June 14, 2024

First Bargaining Session July 10th – Barriers Still Remain

The bargaining committee met on Thursday, May 30th. With the back and forth around the labour board proceedings out of the way, we can provide an update as well as a somewhat positive piece of news.

Bargaining to begin Wednesday, July 10

NAIT and NASA have agreed without prejudice (meaning without setting precedent) to NAIT’s unnecessary complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations board that the first day of negotiations for our next collective agreement will be virtually on Wednesday, July 10.

NAIT has still not moved on its position that negotiations should be during the day and that NASA members should have to pay the costs for your representatives to attend.

However, in this case the Bargaining Committee members in attendance will all be doing so through volunteering vacation time so as not to incur costs to us all as NASA members.

This is a sacrifice that is not expected of NAIT management, they will not be required to use vacation time to attend this session.

We are hoping that one more additional date may be secured in July, but there is a feeling it might not work for the availability of all involved.

To be clear, in spite of this NAIT is still choosing to pursue their complaint which if successful will add unnecessary barriers to transparent, representational bargaining at low cost to NASA members. We will let you know when the hearing is scheduled for the Alberta Labour Relations Board where NASA intends to argue that it is in fact NAIT who is acting in bad faith.

Your chance to observe negotiations

We are extending the invite out to NASA members to attend this session as an observer. The time span of the meeting is yet to be decided, it could be the whole day.

Some things that are typical for a first day of negotiations can be laying out ground rules which are often logistical in nature, open statements from both sides that frame what they set out to accomplish through this round of negotiations, and perhaps an overview of the proposals that each party intends to table.

Your Bargaining Committee believes that you should be able to know what’s happening during the negotiations, as it is your future pay and working conditions being discussed.

If you have time on that day it would also be an excellent show of support to attend. Please fill out this form if you are interested, and we will be in touch when the meeting time is confirmed. If you do not RSVP you may not be allowed to attend.

Proposals Discussed

The committee adopted a proposal to provide clarity around how schedules and workload could be adjusted for bargaining and other union business under Article 12, to give NASA the ability to request whether or not workload adjustments (aka downloads) would be necessary for union activity, or just scheduling adjustments. Where only schedule adjustments occur, Instructors would still complete their work on a flexible basis as we often do, so no cost reimbursement would be necessary. Optimistically, the hope is improved language would reduce NAIT’s likelihood to use the collective agreement as a means to delay progress in bargaining, and to avoid unnecessary costs to NASA.

Another proposal adopted was to protect Counsellor workloads, adding thresholds for student-patient loads with overload when thresholds are breached, and a NAIT-wide student FLE to Counsellor ratio.

A significant proposal adopted is to further clarify that instructors are covered by the NASA collective agreement whether teaching credit programming or not. NAIT is currently denying NASA members instructing English as Second Language rights under the NASA collective agreement, a matter making its way to arbitration. This is in line with a belief that all Instructors at NAIT should benefit from collective agreement rights.

Ongoing Credential Stipend Discussion

Some email discussion has been occurring among the committee about the credential stipend, which may be revisited at a future meeting if two or more members of the committee make a motion to revisit the issue. No motion was brought forward by the members at this meeting, but we did not have 100% attendance, so other committee members could choose to revisit the discussion at a later meeting. Our next meeting will be on Monday, June 24.