Lakehead protest: Four-day unpaid shutdown leads faculty to rise up
By NATHAN TAYLOR
Excerpt from: THE PACKET AND TIMES December 22, 2009
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Accusing their employer of breaching their contracts, Lakehead University faculty members took their work outside yesterday. Both the Orillia and Thunder Bay campuses have shut down from Dec. 21-24, but faculty and staff are not being paid for those days — something that is “in direct violation of their collective agreements,” the Lakehead University Faculty Association (LUFA) stated in a news release.
The university was well within its rights to close for four days, said Kim Fedderson, dean of the Orillia campus. “We wouldn’t have done this if it’s something that we thought we couldn’t do,” he said.
He reserved further comment because the matter is before an arbitrator.
It has been since the fall, after faculty were notified in late April of the university’s intention to temporarily shut down. For one professor, Daphne Bonar, the shutdown results in a cut of about 33% to one of her biweekly paycheques. “We’re going to still have to do the same amount of work. We’re contracted to do a certain amount of research. If they close for four days, we’re still doing all the work we’d be doing in our offices,” said Bonar, who is also a LUFA rep for the Orillia campus. “We’re upholding our obligations to our
contract. They’re the ones who are reneging.” Yesterday, they took their desks and work outside the campus at the corner of Colborne and West streets to protest the closure.