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UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
Brenda began her career with the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) in 1985. She worked in numerous positions with 23 different association presidents and hundreds of different volunteer ULFA committee members, and retired as the executive director of ULFA in 2014.
Brenda discusses her responsibilities as the executive director of ULFA.
The full audio interview will be made available online in late 2017. For more information please contact the University of Lethbridge Archives. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When I look back on it, I mean it was an amazing journey working for the Faculty Association and I think before I say anymore I should just explain that most people aren’t aware of the fact that the Faculty Association is actually not a part of the University. It’s a separate entity of its own and it exists because of the Universities Act, which is now of course referred to as the Post-Secondary Learning Act, and those pieces of provincial legislation mandate that each university in the province have an association with the sole responsibility of negotiating contracts, both terms of conditions and economic benefits, for faculty members.
And, so universities are required to provide us space to do our work and I have to say that we are, we were always so lucky here at the U of L compared to some of the other universities where administrations were quite, quite stringent. They required atrocious rent from associations for the space that they had on campus and they were charged for a lot of things that were necessities of functioning in that position and so they had no choice but to collect dues from their members. In addition to using these dues for other things, it had to pay for their accommodations whereas the University of Lethbridge was just so completely different, so completely generous in that respect. They provided us with office space, they provided us with mail, with telephones, with use of Net Wi, computer networks, all those sorts of things. And in the beginning, they used to charge us a dollar a year rent just so that we had some sort of a lease agreement that they could refer to and eventually over the years, I’d say probably within the last 10 years they just abandoned even collecting on that. They just, we were an established part of the University by that point.
Our relationship with the University, with university administration was for, to the best of my recollection you know it … we had our ups, we had our downs but for the most part we had an extremely collegial relationship and I also believe the fact that we were an association and not a union was very much in our favour. We worked to resolves issues. We worked to find a solution. We didn’t file grievances after grievance after grievance after grievance. We would sit down, use the method that was outlined, that had been negotiated in our collective agreement or our Faculty Handbook as it’s called, to address these issues and work together to resolve them and oftentimes they never got, issues never got to grievance. We would meet with administration and we would say, 'You know, look we both have a problem here.' And, we would talk about it and we would look for ways that we could mutually agree to resolve an issue. We were very fortunate that way and I can’t speak more highly of our relationship with administration.
(Interviewed by Johanna DeVisser)