UWOFA asks for a ‘No-Board’ Report

Bargaining Update from University Western Ontario Faculty Association website.

October 14th, 2010

The negotiating team has asked provincially-appointed Conciliator John Quinn to file a ‘No-Board’ Report. This request comes after 29 days of negotiations, including two with the help of the Conciliator, without any concrete progress on a range of important issues facing faculty at Western including a much delayed initial financial proposal.

When does Conciliation lead to a ‘No-Board’ Report?

On July 14, UWOFA requested the help of a provincial Conciliator to assist with negotiations. A Conciliator was appointed and met with both sides on September 1 and October 13.  A Conciliator’s mandate is not to judge the merits of positions taken by either side in bargaining or to impose a settlement, but rather to make non-binding suggestions which can be accepted or ignored.  After at least one meeting with a Conciliator, either side can asked for a letter from the Ministry of Labour stating that a Conciliation Board will not be appointed.

After this No-Board Report is issued, there is a waiting period of 17 days, following which either a lock-out or a strike can legally occur. While an employer does not need to meet any further requirements in order to lock out its employees, a union must of course also hold a successful strike vote before calling a legal strike.

Two-weeks ago Faculty Members voted 87% in favour of giving the UWOFA Board a strong strike mandate, which can be used at any time after the 17 day waiting period following the No-Board Report. The exact timing of a strike deadline cannot be determined until that report is released, and such deadlines can be modified based on progress at the bargaining table. But UWOFA will be in a legal strike position during the first week of November.
What happens next?

A request for a No-Board Report does not mean that negotiations have ended, or even that they have reached an impasse. UWOFA negotiators will continue to pursue a fair and equitable settlement for the members by continuing contract talks on previously scheduled dates. The negotiating team and Board continue to hope that a strike will not be necessary in order to achieve our bargaining goals and defend the interests of faculty at Western.

Outstanding Issues

There are a number of unresolved issues at the table. These include a series of linked articles that would institute “performance management” techniques governing Academic Responsibilities, Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment, Annual Performance Evaluation, Sabbatical Leave, and Discipline. One consequence of these proposals is the institution of a post-tenure review leading to possible dismissal. The Administration has also finally tabled an opening compensation package proposing 0, 0, 0.5, 0.5 percent in scale increases for the four-year period 2010-2014.
The Association’s strength, as always, lies with the membership. With committed and widespread support  a fair settlement can be acheived that defends the interests and the quality of education at Western.

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