UWOFA Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about Western’s negotiations with its faculty union

1. Are Western’s faculty (UWOFA) going on strike?

UWOFA has set a strike deadline for Nov. 9. This does not mean the sides have reached an impasse or that a labour disruption will take place. Both sides are continuing to work hard to reach a negotiated settlement and avoid a labour disruption, and substantial progress has been made. As any organization would do, we are making contingency plans to limit any inconvenience that a labour disruption could cause in the event we do not reach an agreement.

2. What is the history of labour relations between Western and its faculty?

Western and UWOFA have a long history of working professionally through contract talks and have always been able to reach a contract without labour disruption.

3. Is there any impact on campus services right now?

All campus services - including classes, labs, research and student services - are operating normally. Dates and deadlines for mid-terms and assignments remain the same.

4. When did the last contract expire and when did negotiations start?

Faculty are working under terms of a contract that ended on June 30, 2018. Negotiations began on June 6 and numerous bargaining sessions have taken place since then, including some with the assistance of a mediator or a conciliator.

5. So what happens next?

Negotiations continue. If no agreement is reached by Nov. 9, UWOFA may choose to begin a labour disruption. While Western continues to work to achieve a negotiated settlement, we also have a responsibility to plan so as to minimize the impact of a labour disruption in the event we are unable to reach a tentative agreement.

6. What is a no-board report?

A No Board Report is a letter that is issued by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour and it sets the legal strike date. This, along with a strike vote and conciliation, are the steps required before a strike can occur. UWOFA asked the province to issue a no-board report. UWOFA negotiators could ask UWOFA leadership to authorize a strike or other labour action if no settlement is reached by the legal strike date, now set at Nov. 9, or any day after that. At any point during this process, both sides might reach an agreement and reach terms for a new contract.

7. What are the key, outstanding issues?

While progress has been made on several issues, we have yet to reach agreement on compensation and benefits; as well as job security for contract faculty. Western and UWOFA remain committed to ensuring Western is a place where high-quality education and world-class research continue to take place.

8. How can I keep up-to-date on what is happening regarding contract negotiations?

During this period, Western will update the status of negotiations:
Web: Updates will be posted on the Contract Negotiations site and significant updates will also appear at www.news.westernu.ca
Email: Students, staff and faculty will receive significant updates via their Western email account.
Social media: Updates will be posted on Western’s Twitter feed @WesternU and official Facebook page.

9. Will students/staff have advance notification if there is a strike?

We will work to notify you as soon as we are able, whether there is a strike or a contract agreement. Check your uwo email, the www.uwo.ca homepage and the negotiations page for updates.

10. If there is a labour disruption by faculty (UWOFA), would classes be cancelled?

Classes, tutorials, tests, and exams on main campus would be cancelled with the exception of classes taught by faculty who are Clinical Faculty who are physicians in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. The Deans of the Schulich School will provide additional information to medical and dental students. Most clinical placements and internships would be unaffected.

11. Would a strike affect affiliate colleges?

Classes at Huron, Brescia and King’s University Colleges would continue. If a labour disruption is imminent, specific information about classes will be provided to students via email, through website updates at and via social media.

12. If a labour disruption by UWOFA takes place, will the University be closed?

The university will stay open. Most administrative and student services would continue to operate as usual, including libraries, computing services, Recreation Services, the Student Success Centre, the Office of the Registrar, Hospitality services, etc. Resident operations would also be unaffected by a faculty labour disruption. Additional programming for students would take place, with specific details and scheduling that would go live at this website: www.studentexperience.uwo.ca

13. Am I at risk of losing my academic credits/year if there is a labour disruption?

Western and faculty have always been able to resolve their labour matters without a strike. The university will do everything possible to ensure students are able to complete courses in which they are enrolled.

14. Could a disruption delay graduation for fourth-year students?

Again, we will do everything possible to ensure students are able to complete courses and graduate as scheduled.

15. How might a strike affect graduate students?

If a faculty strike were to take place, graduate classes would be cancelled, supervision of graduate students by faculty members would be interrupted, and thesis examinations would be postponed until the strike has ended. Graduate students would continue to receive their funding during a faculty strike. If postponing of a thesis exam moves the exam into the next term, the student would not be charged tuition for that term. If you have any further questions not addressed here, you can email wse@uwo.ca and we will work to find answers as quickly as we can.

16. Who should come to work in the event of a labour disruption and what can be expected in terms of duties?

All staff who are not part of UWOFA are expected to be at work as they ordinarily would be. Graduate Teaching Assistants and post-doctoral researchers are expected to come to work and may continue in their research. Western recognizes some research is time-sensitive and we will make every effort to keep labs open. Libraries, residences, student services and intercollegiate and intramural sports will continue to operate as normal.

17. Would a labour disruption at Western affect London Transit Commission (LTC) buses?

London Transit would operate on the perimeter of the university, along Western, Windermere and Richmond and will serve all regular bus stops along the detour routings.

Buses will not serve University Hospital.

Paratransit will not enter campus or serve University Hospital.

For detailed route information: http://www.londontransit.ca/2018/11/08/potential-uwo-strike-detour/

18. What should be expected regarding picket lines?

Picketers are legally permitted to:

  • Carry signs stating the nature of their dispute;
  • Speak to people entering the property about their concerns;
  • Ask persons entering the property to join the picket line.

However, picketers are not legally permitted to:

  • Blockade entrances to the University;
  • Use force, threats or threatening gestures;
  • Construct barriers to block access to the University;
  • Engage in unlawful behaviour;
  • Picket on University property.

When passing through picket lines, you should:

  • Be courteous if delayed or questioned by picketers.
  • Avoid arguments and confrontations.
  • If challenged, politely express your intention to exercise your legal right to enter campus.
  • Contact Campus Community Police Services at 519-661-3300 should any safety concerns arise.

While significant problems aren’t anticipated, you should still allow extra time coming to or leaving campus whether you’re walking, biking or driving.

19. What if I have specific questions or circumstances not answered here?

If you have any further questions not addressed here, you can email wse@uwo.ca and we will work to find answers as quickly as we can. You can also call 519.661.2111 x 85029 for answers to questions not noted here.

20. Will non-degree credit courses continue to be offered?

Courses offered by WCS, ASPIRE, WELC, and other continuing education units at Western will continue to be offered.