AU has been made aware of damaging misinformation being circulated online and elsewhere and feels it is critical to provide our community with the facts.
As I emailed earlier this week, AUFA walked away from mediation on Tuesday after just one day and without tabling a single proposal. AUFA requested that the mediator “book out,” which means the mediator concludes formal mediation without providing recommendations to the parties.
On Wednesday morning, AUFA sent an email to its members claiming that it had not ended mediation and that my email to you about this was “untrue.” AUFA’s email to their members was in fact dishonest. Mere hours later, AUFA confirmed in its own blog that it “requested the mediator step away and report that no mediated agreement was possible.” This is what “booking out” entails.
This blog post contains a number of inaccurate statements that have been circulated through the post-secondary community, and that are detrimental to AU. In particular, AUFA claims that AU tabled its “last proposal.” This is simply false. At no time did AU communicate with the mediator that we were tabling our “last proposal.” The mediator confirmed that he never said to AUFA that AU was tabling their “last proposal.” The mediator has requested that AUFA retract this false statement.
AUFA has refused. This is incredibly serious. AU is consulting with legal counsel about next steps. We will have more to share with you soon.
The mediator, appointed by the Executive Director of Mediation Services at Alberta Labour and Immigration, is a highly respected neutral labour relations professional with decades of experience, including as Chair of the Alberta Labour Relations Board. As a result of AUFA’s actions and accusations, the mediator has been forced to recuse himself from further involvement in this matter.
I cannot convey strongly enough how disappointed I am with AUFA’s erratic and irresponsible behaviour. I implore AUFA to put a stop to these tactics, and come to the mediation table in a good faith effort to finalize an agreement. It is now clear the parties require the assistance of a neutral third party to make further progress and hopefully avoid a strike.
To this end, AU requested that the Executive Director of Mediation Services appoint a new mediator. The Executive Director agreed, and the new mediator has agreed to meet with the parties tomorrow.
However, since the original mediator was requested to “book out,” the parties have now officially entered the 14-day “cooling off” period before a strike vote can be conducted. As such, the university has implemented its business continuity plan and we will share more with you in the days to come about what impacts this has on our operations.
We understand that this time is unsettling for all AU team members and therefore, we will continue to update our community as mediation continues.