Faculty at the University of Western Ontario voted by a decisive 87 per cent in favour of strike action, should the current negotiations between the faculty association and the university administration fail. The strong vote at Western shows members of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association are backing their negotiating team’s efforts to win improved salary and working conditions for the faculty members.
Faculty negotiators at Western are also resisting employer proposals that would strip faculty of privacy protection and eviscerate their hard-won promotion and tenure system. The employer has not yet made an economic offer. A government conciliator has been working with the parties since September, but so far no agreement is in sight. The staff association at Western representing administrative and technical staff is also scheduling a strike vote.
The collective agreement covers all faculty at Western, including tenured faculty, and full-time and part-time contract academic staff.
Strike vote at Carleton this week
Meantime, the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA) held an information meeting for its members last Friday in preparation for a strike vote Oct. 4 and 5. Ian Sakinofsky, chair of OCUFA’s Collective Bargaining Committee and OCUFA Research Director Donna Gray attended the meeting to share information and solidarity greetings from OCUFA and its member faculty associations across the province.
Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who are administrative and technical staff at Carleton, have voted 83 per cent in favour of strike action. Bargaining at other faculty tables is proceeding.
Administration claw back threats are baseless
At some university bargaining tables, administrators are uttering what are being described as “thinly veiled threats” that if faculty do not accept two years of compensation freezes, the government will reduce the university’s funding. Universities are different from other sectors of the broader public sector in that no government transfer payments are specifically allocated for compensation. Therefore, there is no indication that the result of collective bargaining will trigger any punitive action by the government. As one faculty negotiator said, “The veil is a lot more substantial than the threat.”