ULFA info-picket

Hello all,

Join us on Wednesday, November 17th at 3:00PM at the ULFA rally in solidarity with the UofL faculty workers. 

We invite you to stand with us in solidarity at this peaceful rally to show support for faculty workers (professors, instructors, and sessional lecturers). Like us, the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA)  is currently bargaining with the University and they have been asked to take a 4% retroactive cut on their salaries (i.e., the University is asking Faculty to pay back 4% of what they were paid since their last contract ended – over 500 days ago). This rally is raising awareness to not only the issues at the bargaining table, but also the broad influence that the cuts to post-secondary institution, made by the Alberta Government, have had to our whole campus – cuts that will result in larger class sizes, higher tuition costs, and potential decreased salaries for University employees. 

The rally will take place at the North entrance to the University of Lethbridge Main  campus (at the intersection of University Dr. and Columbia Blvd.). Meet us at the PSAC tent to check-in. Signs, banners, and flags will be provided. Dress warmly. 

This rally should be attended on your own time and you should not attend if you have other previously scheduled work activities or duties. 

Please email us at gsa.labour@uleth.ca if you have any questions that are not answered below! 

For more information, please read below

What is ULFA?

ULFA is the bargaining unit and union representative for the University of Lethbridge academic staff. They represent 500 faculty and instructors, and 100 sessional lecturers. Like the ULGA (University of Lethbridge Graduate Association, who represent you), ULFA represents their worker members at the bargaining table and in upholding their Collective Bargaining Agreement (their contract). 

ULFA strives “to be champions of academic freedom, and of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University. We exist to help make things better in the terms and conditions under which our members carry out all aspects of their academic work.

ULFA envisions a workplace that allows our members to thrive in their academic work. This includes fair working conditions, strong collegial governance, the preservation of tenure and academic freedom, and the identification and elimination of barriers to equity, diversity and inclusion for all academic staff.”

Why is ULFA holding a rally?

This will be a peaceful rally to raise awareness about the damaging cuts to post-secondary education. ULFA members are concerned about the broad negative impacts on the fabric of our institution, including faculty recruitment and retention and student learning. You can learn more about ULFA’s bargaining struggles here.

ULFA has been in bargaining for a new Collective Agreement for 558 days, and has significant challenges presented by the University of Lethbridge’s Board of Governors (the employer), and the Government of Alberta’s serious cuts and mandate letters. 

The employer is seeking a 4% salary rollback retroactive to 1 July 2020, restriction of academic freedom and member accompaniment, and significant revisions to the grievance process, member evaluation, career progress and merit, Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), and the application of Financial Emergency. 

ULFA has reported that, “progress throughout the negotiation process has been very slow. While negotiations drag out, we are losing members to other employers and retirement, and inflation is effectively cutting our salary quite heavily. The employer has refused to accept offers to extend the duration of our previous agreement with no across-the-board adjustment, insisting that we should be negotiating a new agreement. However, the rate of progress in negotiations suggests that we could be years away from settling.”

As the cuts to post-secondary education by the current provincial government affect the entire campus community, ULFA has organized this rally – or information picket, to raise visibility and awareness to the following issues: 

  • Cuts to postsecondary education negatively impact both students and faculty. 
  • Larger class sizes mean higher faculty workloads, less time for direct one-on-one interactions between faculty and students, and fewer student research opportunities.
  • Students are now paying more than ever in tuition but our faculty are paid 10-15% less than comparator universities. Faculty are now being threatened with additional rollbacks to salaries and benefits.
  • Contract negotiations have already lasted more than eight semesters. It’s time to reach a fair settlement and avoid potential job action in the future. 
  • Let’s show that #ouruniversity is #worthfightingfor

Is this a strike?

NO. A legal strike must be labour board supervised and voted on by the workers represented by the bargaining unit (faculty represented by ULFA), a lockout must be labour board supervised and voted on by the employer (the Board of Governors) and an “illegal” or “wildcat strike” is the withholding of labour for a period of time organized entirely by the workers without the bargaining unit or Labour Board’s prior knowledge. 

This is an information picket to raise awareness of the issues faculty is facing, and is not an explicit withholding of labour. 

Why is it important for Graduate student workers to attend?

We both share the same employer, we are both bargaining with the employer currently, and share bargaining conditions with ULFA. The faculty members we work alongside are fighting for the same worker rights we are: fair wages, safe and supportive working conditions, and a clear contract grounded in equity and academic freedom.

By attending this rally, you will be demonstrating solidarity with faculty workers, we are ensuring our employer understands that workers are united in demanding fair bargaining and a healthy, respectful campus community. 

When we have the ability to support worker action, we should. This support can also be a commitment to not cross the strike line of workers in other industries. By supporting the workers’ job action (e.g., rallies, picket lines) you are helping them improve their working conditions, in getting a fair contract. A great way to support workers’ job action is to ask why they are taking action and spread the word! 

What if I am scheduled to work during the rally?

As this is not a strike, not an explicit call to action to withhold labour, the ULGA cannot ask you to withhold labour to attend the rally. We are calling on workers to attend the rally in solidarity on their own free time, and with respect to their contracted work. 

Is this about faculty working conditions, student conditions or workers?


This rally is about the campus community we are a part of. The issues faced by faculty will absolutely be reflected in TA and GA workloads. If faculty are expected to take on more work, their TAs and GAs will be expected to meet that workload even if we are not compensated adequately. In cases of academic work being contracted out (lower paying work given to private workers not employed outright by the institution and not receiving the same benefits from a Collective Bargaining Agreement), this can affect our day to day work and our future contracts and compensation. 

In cases of bargaining breaking down, there are always worst-case-scenarios but the broader issues of government funding cuts and bad faith bargaining will create toxic work environments that will affect us as students, researchers, TAs and academic workers. 

How can we keep COVID safe at this rally?

ULFA has outlined the following safety asks: 

“At this peaceful rally, we will observe all of the mandated COVID-19 protocols for outdoor events. Attendees are asked to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing.”

As this event is on-campus, you are required to be double vaccinated  and expected to act in accordance with all public health guidelines. Please DO NOT attend if you are feeling ill. 

What are we supposed to do when we get there?

First, dress warm and wear comfortable shoes. When you arrive at the entrance to the University (corner of Columbia Blvd. and University Dr.) come say hello and check in! Your bargaining committee will be on-site – look for the  PSAC tent. We’re happy to have a chat with grad student workers about where things are at in contract negotiations and how you can fight for your workplace rights.

After you have checked in with us, grab or make a sign and chat with faculty members about where things are at in their bargaining process. 

There might be some speeches or other calls to action, but the goal is to come together as a community and visibly stand up for worker rights. 

What benefit does posting on social platforms have?

ULFA has asked folks to post support messages on social media platforms with the hashtag #worthfightingfor. This is to boost awareness and send the message that as a community we are in support of a safe, fair and equitable workplace.

In solidarity,

Your Labour Relations Committee

Jackson R. Ham, M.Sc. (he/him)

Chair – University of Lethbridge Graduate Association (ULGA)

Vice-President Labour

Graduate Students’ Association

University of Lethbridge