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Collective Bargaining

SAIT is committed to supporting the development of its employees and cultivating a culture of excellence throughout the school.

A collective bargaining process that is respectful, collaborative and equitable is critical to advancing SAIT’s strategic priorities and ensuring a sustainable future for the institution.

Union groups

SAIT negotiates the terms and conditions of employment, including compensation, with two union groups:

Bargaining updates

SAIT and AUPE informal mediation | Tuesday, May 24

A joint application between AUPE and SAIT was made last week to engage in informal mediation.

Parties are waiting for a mediator to be assigned. Informal mediation is expected to begin mid to late June.

Collective agreement ratified between SAIT and SAFA | Tuesday, May 10

We are pleased to announce a new Collective Agreement has been ratified between the SAIT Academic Faculty Association (SAFA) and SAIT’s Board of Governors for the period of July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2024.

The new agreement will be compiled and posted online as soon as possible.

Many thanks to both bargaining teams for their hard work throughout the bargaining process.

The bargaining teams for SAIT and SAFA are pleased to provide the following joint statement:

After working with a mediator, the bargaining teams have a mediator's report containing recommendations to resolve outstanding items between the parties. The full proposed terms of the settlement, which include other items resolved during bargaining, will be subject to ratification by both parties. Notification of ratification must be communicated to the mediator no later than Friday, May 13, 2022. Both bargaining teams are recommending the terms of the report be ratified by their respective parties.

If ratified, the terms of the settlement will form a new collective agreement.

The bargaining teams for SAIT and SAFA are pleased to provide the following joint statement.

Earlier this week, April 4 – 6, the parties met at the bargaining table for three positive and productive days of informal mediation. The parties look forward to the mediator’s report. Details to follow.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties continued discussions to address outstanding articles in advance of scheduled informal facilitation/mediation sessions April 4, 5 and 6. These discussions included Section 15, Performance Reviews, and Section 16, Progressive Discipline.

The parties have agreed no communications will be issued during the period of informal mediation.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups will be meeting for a series of informal facilitation/mediation sessions April 4, 5 and 6.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. SAFA presented a revised workload proposal and a proposal for a new section on casual appointments. The parties agreed to move forward with informal facilitation/mediation set to begin as soon as possible. The parties will continue to address and close a number of outstanding articles in advance of these facilitated sessions. The next meeting date is TBD.

Collective bargaining can be a lengthy process, and it typically progresses through a number of phases. Below is a recap of the phases we have seen during this round of negotiation between SAIT and SAFA:

Interest-based bargaining – March to June 2021

  • Initial bargaining proposals were exchanged at the end of March 2021. The approach taken at this stage was “interest-based” — in other words, to discuss the main interests of the parties rather than focus on specific wording. Neither side provided the other with detailed proposals at this stage.
  • The parties negotiated a letter of understanding relating to the use of vacation during this period.

Summer break – June to October 2021

  • SAIT and SAFA mutually agreed to take a break from bargaining over the summer months and the first few weeks of the new academic year.

Detailed proposals – October 2021 to February 2022

  • After the rush of the first weeks of the new academic year, SAIT presented a detailed proposal near the end of October, which included a specific financial proposal.
  • After a month, in late November, SAFA provided a response to SAIT’s proposal. This did not include a response or proposal regarding financial issues.
  • It was another two months, in early February, when SAFA provided a response to SAIT’s financial proposal.
  • SAFA has requested bargaining be adjourned following the Feb. 2 meeting until March.

Next steps – March 2022 and onward

  • The parties are considering whether having a facilitator or mediator might help discussions progress more quickly. Typically, a facilitator/mediator will hold both parties to account and help guide them toward resolution. They would have no authority to make decisions or to compel the parties to a decision.
  • Once outstanding proposals are discussed, SAIT is hopeful SAFA will agree to move to a facilitated discussion to help speed the parties to a negotiated collective agreement.

SAIT will continue to post bargaining updates to this webpage as discussions progress. We look forward to working with our SAFA colleagues to find solutions that support both the institution and our faculty.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties continued an interest-based discussion on workload. SAIT continues to anticipate a monetary response from SAFA to the revised inbound proposal presented on Oct. 27, 2021. The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Jan. 26.

SAIT, AUPE and SAFA were back at the bargaining table last week and the bargaining teams have made excellent progress and reached an agreement on many critical articles. The groups exchanged proposals and began to talk about salaries and other elements around compensation and will continue to do so over the coming weeks. There are a few things our employees need to know about compensation issues as we continue these talks.

You may be aware that SAIT ended up in a surplus position for the 2020/21 fiscal year, due to unexpected savings over the course of the pandemic. When the 2020/21 budget was created in early 2020, relatively little was known about how the pandemic would unfold, and how it might impact our costs and revenues. We had to take our best guess, but extended campus closures resulted in significant one-time savings in operational expenses when we were anticipating an increase in operating costs. Although a surplus is a positive thing, this one-time money cannot be used to support ongoing salary and compensation expenses. In fact, we anticipate another reduction to our grant next year which will negatively impact our ability to support such ongoing costs.

Even where SAIT has the financial resources to support improvements in compensation, we are not empowered to make those decisions on our own. Under the Public Sector Employers Act, the government has the ability to issue “directives” to SAIT and other public sector employers which limit what we are permitted to offer through collective bargaining. SAIT works with our partners in government to help ensure that our employees are fairly compensated, but we are subject to the government’s directives and their strategy for the broader public sector.

We continue to work with our union partners to conclude new collective agreements in the highly regulated environment in which these discussions occur. More will be shared as we move through bargaining.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties continued a productive interest-based discussion on employee categories for instructors and workload. SAIT continues to anticipate a monetary response from SAFA to the revised inbound proposal presented on Oct. 27, 2021. The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Jan. 19.

SAIT’s bargaining teams, along with our colleagues in AUPE and SAFA, have worked hard and made good progress throughout our bargaining discussions over the past year. With the upcoming holiday season just around the corner, we wish all SAIT employees a restorative, safe and healthy winter break. Bargaining will continue in the new year.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties continued an interest-based discussion on workload. SAIT continues to anticipate a monetary response from SAFA to the revised inbound proposal presented Oct. 27, 2021. The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Jan. 26.

SAIT, AUPE and SAFA were back at the bargaining table last week and the bargaining teams have made excellent progress and reached an agreement on many critical articles. The groups exchanged proposals and began to talk about salaries and other elements around compensation and will continue to do so over the coming weeks. There are a few things our employees need to know about compensation issues as we continue these talks.

You may be aware that SAIT ended up in a surplus position for the 2020/21 fiscal year, due to unexpected savings over the course of the pandemic. When the 2020/21 budget was created in early 2020, relatively little was known about how the pandemic would unfold, and how it might impact our costs and revenues. We had to take our best guess, but extended campus closures resulted in significant one-time savings in operational expenses when we were anticipating an increase in operating costs. Although a surplus is a positive thing, this one-time money cannot be used to support ongoing salary and compensation expenses. In fact, we anticipate another reduction to our grant next year which will negatively impact our ability to support such ongoing costs.

Even where SAIT has the financial resources to support improvements in compensation, we are not empowered to make those decisions on our own. Under the Public Sector Employers Act, the government has the ability to issue “directives” to SAIT and other public sector employers which limit what we are permitted to offer through collective bargaining. SAIT works with our partners in government to help ensure that our employees are fairly compensated, but we are subject to the government’s directives and their strategy for the broader public sector.

We continue to work with our union partners to conclude new collective agreements in the highly regulated environment in which these discussions occur. More will be shared as we move through bargaining.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties continued a productive interest-based discussion on employee categories for instructors and workload. SAIT continues to anticipate a monetary response from SAFA to the revised inbound proposal presented Oct. 27, 2021. The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Jan. 19.

SAIT’s bargaining teams, along with our colleagues in AUPE and SAFA, have worked hard and made good progress throughout our bargaining discussions over the past year. With the upcoming holiday season just around the corner, we wish all SAIT employees a restorative, safe and healthy winter break. Bargaining will continue in the new year.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. Progress was made on a number of open sections, with updates to several agreed in principle for sign-off and closure. SAIT continues to anticipate a monetary response from SAFA to the revised inbound proposal presented Oct. 27. The next meeting dates are being confirmed for January 2022.

AUPE and SAIT bargaining groups met for three productive days. Significant progress was made on a number of articles and some were signed off. Through these three days, most of the non-monetary issues were discussed. Monetary issues will be addressed at our future meeting dates in January 2022.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. SAFA provided a response to SAIT’s revised inbound proposal presented Oct. 27, exclusive of monetary. The parties reviewed the response and agreed to set an agenda to discuss open sections/articles. The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Dec. 1.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. SAIT continues to anticipate a response from SAFA to the revised inbound proposal presented Oct. 27. The parties talked about benefits and continued an interest-based discussion around types of instructors. The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Nov. 24.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. SAIT presented a revised inbound proposal, which includes a monetary proposal. A response from SAFA is anticipated in advance of the next bargaining meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The parties also discussed professional development.

Bargaining has resumed. SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met and discussed the upcoming bargaining schedule, which will include a number of extended working sessions dedicated to specific topic areas. The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Oct. 27.

SAFA and SAIT will resume bargaining with a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 13. The next AUPE and SAIT bargaining meetings are scheduled for Nov. 22, 23 and 24.

Later this month we have two bargaining meetings scheduled with AUPE (July 16 and 20) and are working hard to reach an agreement with our colleagues represented by AUPE and by SAFA.

In the meantime, we want to wish all SAIT employees a safe and healthy summer. We’re looking forward to the start of a new term this fall.

The AUPE and SAIT bargaining teams have finalized a Letter of Agreement (LOA) on AUPE yearend performance reviews for 2020-2021. SAIT and AUPE have agreed to forgo formal performance ratings and reviews for the 2020/21 performance year. This means no performance reviews need to be completed.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met and continued the discussion on performance. The parties agreed to adjourn bargaining meetings for the summer.

The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, Sept. 22.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties discussed performance management, including the case for change regarding annual performance reviews. The discussion touched on performance philosophy and models, and Section 15 (Performance Reviews).

The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, June 23.

The SAIT and SAFA bargaining teams have finalized a Letter of Understanding (LOU) on the Use of Vacation for 2021-2022. The LOU is a recognition of tentative agreement on Sections 32 (Annual Vacation Leave – Instructors and Educational Counsellors) and 33 (Annual Vacation Leave – Librarians).

Faculty will be able to see their vacation deposit online by June 12.

When will I see the vacation deposit in my balance?

The deposit will be made June 10.

What will be deposited?

Under Section 32 of the collective agreement, SAFA members will see a deposit of 344 hours.

What if I don’t see the deposit as above?

The vacation amount deposited on June 10 will be added to your current balance. If your current balance is negative, your total will be less than the hours deposited. If your current balance is positive, your total will be higher than the hours deposited.

Will this practice of depositing vacation as one lump sum continue or is this only for the 2021/2022 year?

SAIT and SAFA are currently negotiating the terms of a new collective agreement, this practice will continue until a new collective agreement is negotiated.

What happens if I have a negative balance and leave SAIT?

As outlined in the LOU, you will not be asked to repay a negative balance at this time.

Why do I need to use up my vacation during the year?

All employees are encouraged to strive for annual planning of vacation and take periods of rest as needed throughout the year. An ongoing practice to limit vacation liability will also help support SAIT's long-term financial sustainability.

When do I need to use up my vacation?

You are encouraged to keep your vacation balance as low as possible. If you still have a large balance from previous years, you are expected to work with your leader to reduce that to zero or as low as possible by April 30. We recognize employees have different situations — please work with your leader to determine a plan on how you will use your vacation balance. Going forward, we are asking employees to use their vacation balance annually.

What if I think my vacation balance is incorrect?

The vacation balance is calculated based on the employee’s vacation entry and leader approval in the mySAIT system. It is recommended you take the following steps as needed:

  • Review your vacation balance in your mySAIT account > myEmployee > Vacation and Sick Leave Balances.
  • Use the “Full Leave Balance Information” and “Current Vacation Available” tabs to verify your vacation balance.
  • Review your vacation balance against your records (e.g. Outlook calendar, other tracking sheet).
  • Have a discussion with your leader. Please make sure all of your Leave Reports have been approved by your leader.
  • Finally, have your leader email employee.questions@sait.ca with information that supports a correction.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties continued the discussion on vacation leave.

The next meeting date is set for Wednesday, June 9.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties discussed annual vacation leave.

Next meeting date is set for Wednesday, May 26.

AUPE and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties discussed several articles and topics: bulletin boards, printing of agreements, probationary period, vacation, work hours and overtime. As well, SAIT provided information to the AUPE bargaining team specific to SAIT’s commitment to accommodating employees with time off for vaccinations, and upcoming changes to LAPP vesting period.

Next meeting dates are set for Friday, July 16 and Tuesday, July 20.

SAFA and SAIT bargaining groups met. The parties discussed vacation and had presentations from Jim Gibson, School for Advanced Digital Technology, and Vis Naidoo, Director, Centre for Continuing Education and Professional Studies.

No future meeting date has been confirmed.

Proposals exchanged. SAFA and SAIT exchanged bargaining proposals.

AUPE and SAIT bargaining groups met to review bargaining proposals at a high level. Highlighting articles, on both sides, with desired changes.

Proposals exchanged. AUPE and SAIT exchanged bargaining proposals.

Post-secondary collective bargaining in Alberta

SAIT and other post-secondary institutions in Alberta are public sector employers.

The labour relations and collective bargaining of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions fall under the Labour Relations Code, the Public Service Employee Relations Act and the Post-secondary Learning Act.

The Provincial Bargaining Coordination Office is the central agency that coordinates collective bargaining with the broader public sector employers.

The Alberta Labour Relations Board is an independent tribunal responsible for administering the Labour Relations Code and applying the legislation governing collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining process

Collective bargaining is a process of determining the terms and conditions of employment through direct negotiations between a union and an employer.

A typical collective bargaining process includes the following:

  • A notice to commence collective bargaining initiates collective bargaining and can be issued by SAIT or the union.
  • Negotiations start with the exchange of opening proposals from both SAIT and the union. This may include proposed additions, changes or deletions relating to the current collective agreement.
  • Bargaining teams representing SAIT and the union meet for a scheduled series of negotiations. Both parties bargain in good faith to make every reasonable effort to enter into a renewal collective agreement. At any time during collective bargaining, either or both parties may request assistance from a mediator. If an agreement cannot be achieved through negotiations and an impasse is reached, there are a number of methods for resolving disputes in collective bargaining.
  • When the bargaining teams have reached a settlement on a tentative renewal collective agreement, the agreement must then be ratified.

Frequently asked questions

Collective bargaining is a process of determining the terms and conditions of employment through direct negotiations between a union and an employer.

When one or both bargaining parties decide no further progress is possible through negotiation discussions, an impasse is reached. There are a number of methods for resolving disputes in collective bargaining.

Ultimately, an impasse can lead to a work stoppage, following several mandated steps as set out in the Alberta Labour Relations Code, the legislation that governs collective bargaining and strikes/lockout processes.

When the bargaining parties are unable to negotiate a collective agreement, the union may choose to strike.

A strike includes a cessation of work, refusal to work or refusal to continue to work by two or more employees for the purpose of compelling the employer to agree to terms or conditions of employment.

In advance of a strike, a vote of employees in the bargaining unit must take place and the majority of votes must be in favour of the strike. Employees are unpaid for the duration of the strike.

See: Alberta Labour Relations Board Strike and Lockout FAQ

When the bargaining parties are unable to negotiate a collective agreement, the employer may choose to lock out the employees.

A lockout includes the closing of a place of employment by an employer, the suspension of work by an employer or a refusal by an employer to continue to employ employees for the purpose of compelling employees to agree to terms of conditions of employment. Employees are unpaid for the duration of any lockout.

See: Alberta Labour Relations Board Strike and Lockout FAQ

The Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) is an independent and impartial tribunal responsible for the day-to-day application and interpretation of Alberta's labour laws. The role of the ALRB is to interpret and apply the legislation governing collective bargaining including:

  • how and under what conditions a trade union may claim the status of an exclusive bargaining agent for a group of employees
  • how the employer and union must bargain to reach or renew a collective agreement
  • what kinds of union and employer conduct is prohibited
  • when the parties may have recourse to a strike or lockout.

Provincial legislation describes essential services as those that if interrupted would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the public, or that are necessary to maintain and administer the rule of law and public security. The parties to an essential services agreement may also agree to a broader definition or to particular positions deemed essential.

Most unions have the right to strike and most employers have the right to lockout. Prior to those events occurring, employers and unions generally must go through a number of required steps as set out in the Alberta Labour Relations Code, the legislation that governs collective bargaining, and strike/lockout processes. One of those steps is to negotiate an Essential Services Agreement (ESA).

At any time during collective bargaining, either party may give the other written notice of the desire to identify or negotiate essential services that would continue to be performed in the event of a work stoppage. Their agreements must identify:

  • a list of the essential services for their particular organization
  • job classifications and number of employees affected
  • procedures for assigning essential service duties
  • procedures for responding to emergencies and any foreseeable changes to essential services
  • changes to terms and conditions of employment that apply during a work stoppage (if any)
  • mediators to resolve disputes during a work stoppage

Any ESA must be approved by the ALRB.

Contact

SAIT remains committed to providing information on collective bargaining. If you have questions or comments they can be sent to bargaining@sait.ca.

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