Perinpanayagam: UWOSA awaits ‘meaningful conversation’ with president

On July 22, Western President Amit Chakma sent a memorandum to all members of the university community with a summary of feedback from his 100-day ‘listening tour.’

Unfortunately, President Chakma failed to contact representatives from the University of Western Ontario Staff Association (UWOSA), which comprises approximately 1,000 administrative and technical staff at Western. UWOSA would like to bring attention to some of the key areas detailed in Dr. Chakma’s memorandum.

It was noted that staffing levels and workloads with limited resources is a viable concern. This has been a constant problem UWOSA has repeatedly brought to the attention of the administration that continues to be ignored. In fact, UWOSA has two active grievances concerning positions, which are full- time continuing but currently being filled by part-time, contract employees.

The president also noted there is a need to examine current practices and timelines surrounding recruitment, staffing, position evaluations and related compensation. UWOSA has seven active grievances addressing violations to vacancies (Article 12) and layoffs (Article 13). There are three outstanding grievances concerning the Job Evaluation Process (Article 44).

Our members are fully aware their union officers have been working diligently since January 2013 to ensure pay equity is achieved, established and adhered to at Western. Our members are also aware that Western’s administration continues to create roadblocks and impasses at every step of the process. The administration has even tried to blame the union for its own delays to agree upon fair and equitable point bands to ensure pay equity and job evaluation for all.

President Chakma’s memorandum states he will continue to meet regularly with internal and external groups of the campus community. UWOSA’s members are an integral part of the campus community – from drivers to housing clerks, administrative assistants to general stores clerks, research assistants to dental assistants, to name a few. We are proud of the work we do to ensure faculty research receives international recognition, managers achieve department milestones and undergraduate and graduate students receive the best education and experience.

UWOSA remains optimistic for the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with President Chakma.

Meg Perinpanayagam
UWOSA President