The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) has set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3.
That is the first date on which unionized faculty members at Western will be in a legal strike position. The announcement follows the filing of a “no board” report by Ministry of Labour Director Reg Pearson on Oct. 17.
“We still hope a strike will not be necessary,” says James Compton, UWOFA president. “And we will continue to bargain in good faith to achieve a fair and equitable settlement.”
Contract talks continue with five negotiation meetings scheduled prior to Nov. 3, including meetings with the provincially appointed mediator Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 1 and 2. More than 1,400 full and part-time unionized faculty members have been without a contract since June 30.
“Western remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement,” says Helen Connell, Western communications and public affairs, associate vice-president. “At the same time, ensuring undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students have the opportunity to successfully complete their academic goals is Western’s highest priority and, as such, the university has developed appropriate contingency plans should they be required.”
The University of Western Ontario Staff Association (UWOSA) also requested a no board report, but has yet to announce a strike deadline. The union could be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 4.
Negotiations are continuing with UWOSA and a provincially appointed conciliator is involved to help the two sides reach a settlement. UWOSA represents about 1,000 employees and their contract expired on June 30.
The university has developed contingency plans should they be required in the event of a work disruption involving either UWOSA or UWOFA.
Information about how a potential labour disruption could impact members of the campus community will be posted on Western’s home page this week. Keep checking www.uwo.ca regularly for updates.
Meanwhile, a tentative agreement has been reached on a new two-year contract for more than 1,900 graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local 610 and Western representatives have been negotiating a new collective agreement since last summer to replace the previous four-year contract that expired on August 31, 2010.
“Our Graduate Teaching Assistants play an important role at Western, and this agreement recognizes the value of the responsibilities they carry,” says Linda Miller, Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
“I am very pleased that through the diligence of the negotiating team we were able to bring back an agreement to the membership worth their consideration,” Alison Braley, GTA union president says.
The agreement will go to the union membership for ratification on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 1 and 2. Further details regarding location and time for ratification meetings will be forthcoming from the union.