2011

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September 20, 2011. Tentative agreement reached

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association and the University of Western Ontario are pleased to announce they have reached a tentative agreement for the UWOFA-LA bargaining unit. The parties reached agreement on all outstanding issues at 2 p.m. today.

The 51 Librarians and Archivists, represented by UWOFA-LA have been on strike since Sept. 8. As part of a back to work protocol, UWOFA-LA will be taking pickets down immediately.

If the four-year agreement is ratified by the union membership and Western's Board of Governors, expected to take place toward the end of the week, striking workers could be back on the job early next week.

The terms of the agreement remain confidential until ratification by both parties.

August 23, 2011. Librarians and Archivists in legal strike position

The University of Western Ontario has been in negotiations with UWOFA-LA (Librarians and Archivists) since late April working to renew the group's second contract, which ended June 30. The 51 members of the bargaining unit are represented by the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA).

Currently, the University and UWOFA-LA are continuing conciliation talks, with meetings scheduled for September 6 and 7. However, UWOFA-LA has requested a "no board" report and will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, September 8, the first day of classes.

The University is putting a number of plans in place to ensure minimal disruption to students, faculty, staff and the community should a labour disruption occur. It is expected that all campus libraries will remain open and most library services will be available, including borrowing and accessing physical materials, accessing electronic materials, directional services, and reference source assistance. However, highly subject specific, in-depth reference services may not be available.

All University employees who are not members of UWOFA-LA will be required to report to work as usual in the event of a labour disruption by UWOFA-LA and students will be required to attend all classes and exams as usual.

During this period, updates to the University community will be communicated in the following ways:

WEB: Updates will continue to be posted on the Contract Negotiations @ Western web site . If a strike appears imminent, a dedicated website will be launched with a link off of the University's home page at www.uwo.ca.

EMAIL: All students and University employees will receive significant updates via their Western email account.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Members of the University community are encouraged to join Western's official Facebook page and Twitter feed so they can be alerted when new updates are posted online.

 

July 4, 2011. Update on postdoctoral associates negotiations

Negotiations to achieve a first contract between The University of Western Ontario and PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada) Local 611 continue this week with scheduled meetings set to take place July 5 and 6.

The union represents approximately 40 postdoctoral associates at Western, a portion of all postdoctoral scholars on campus. 
It is important to note that this union does not represent postdoctoral fellows at the University. Rather, the terms and conditions of the appointment of postdoctoral fellows is discussed directly between the faculty member and the postdoctoral fellow.

The two sides have been bargaining since July 2009 and began meeting with a conciliator in November 2010. The University respects the confidentiality of the bargaining process, and believes successful negotiations are best accomplished at the table.  The University, however, also believes that PSAC has misrepresented the facts of these negotiations in their recent public communications. To that end, it’s important to clarify some points:

  • As with faculty negotiations, the University is only negotiating the minimum amount a postdoctoral associate can be paid.
  • Salaries of postdoctoral scholars are not funded by the University; they are funded by research grants held by faculty members, and the minimum Tri-Council annual salary level for postdocs has been $25,000.
  • Ultimately, individual researchers decide what salary they can offer postdocs based on the grants they have received.
  • The numbers ($10.93/hour) being cited by PSAC are based on floors (minimums), not rates as they have characterized them.

The University understands and places high value on the importance of postdocs to individual researchers, and to Western’s research mission.  It also recognizes the importance of postdoctoral training in career development. The goal throughout negotiations with PSAC has been and continues to be striking a balance between the needs of postdoctoral associates, the availability and limitations of researchers’ grant funding, and the needs of the University as a whole.
The University is still hopeful an agreement can be reached with PSAC Local 611.

Learn more about postdoctoral studies at Western.


June 28, 2011. Negotiations with postdoctoral associates continue

Negotiations to achieve a first contract are continuing between The University of Western Ontario and PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada) Local 611. The union represents approximately 40 postdoctoral associates at the University, a portion of all postdoctoral scholars on campus.
The two sides have been bargaining since July 2009 and began meeting with a conciliator in November 2010. The next scheduled meetings take place July 5 and 6.

"Western respects the confidentiality of the bargaining process and we believe successful negotiations are best accomplished at the table," says Helen Connell, Western's Associate Vice-President (Communications & Public Affairs). "However, we feel it's important to clarify some misinformation being distributed by PSAC. First, the University is not negotiating hourly rates for postdoctoral associates. The numbers being cited are based on floors (minimums), not rates. Also, it's important to note that salaries of postdoctoral scholars are completely funded by research grants, often held by faculty members, not the University, and the minimum Tri-Council annual salary level for postdocs has been $25,000." The Tri-Council consists of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).


"We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached with our postdoctoral associates. Postdocs make significant contributions to the research environment at Western, and are valued members of our community," adds Connell.

Learn more about postdoctoral studies at Western.

June 21, 2011. Librarians and Archivists support strike mandate

The University of Western Ontario has been in negotiations with UWOFA-LA (Librarians and Archivists) since early May working to renew the group's second contract, which ends on June 30, 2011.

The 47 members of the bargaining unit are represented by the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA).

A strike vote was held June 17 and 20. Voter turnout was 80% of eligible members, with 100% voting in favour of giving the negotiating team a strike mandate.
"Holding a strike vote is a normal part of the negotiations process, and we are not surprised by the results of the vote," says Helen Connell, Western's Associate Vice-President (Communications and Public Affairs). "Talks are continuing, and both sides are working hard to reach an agreement."

At UWOFA-LA's request, the Ministry of Labour has appointed a conciliator, whose role it is to work with both parties to try to reach a collective agreement. The first meeting with the conciliator took place on May 30, and talks are scheduled to continue throughout the remainder of June.

"Our librarians and archivists play an important role at Western, and we are hopeful an agreement can be reached," says Connell.

UWOFA-LA will not be in a legal strike position until a no-board report has been requested and 17 days have passed after the authorization by the Ontario Minister of Labour.


April 28, 2011. Labour negotiations on horizon

May and June will be busy months for a number of Western employee groups and university negotiators as contract talks get underway for five groups with contracts expiring on June 30. Included are:

  • Librarians & Archivists (UWOFA-LA).  Represents 47 librarians and archivists.
  • CUPE Food Services (CUPE Local 2692). Represents 314 employees in the Hospitality Services Department, including food services assistants, food supervisors, cooks, chefs and food storespersons;
  • CUPE Physical Plant (CUPE Local 2361). Represents 306 employees in the Physical Plant Department engaged in the maintenance and service of buildings and grounds at the university;
  • Operating Engineers (IUOE Local 772). Represents 10 employees who are the university’s operating engineers and individuals engaged primarily as their helpers in the main power plant and other remote plants (a one-year contract was achieved in 2010);
  • UWO Police Association (UWOPA). Represents 12 employees in the Campus Community Police Service engaged as university police special constables.

Negotiations also continue for a first contract for the Postdoctoral Associates (PSAC Local 611). As well, talks will be held in the future for a first contract for approximately 280 “Group C” employees in Western’s Hospitality Services. The part-time workers voted in March in favour of joining CUPE.