Librarians an archivists go to the bargaining table

Johanna Weststar

With the Collective Agreement expiring on June 30, 2019, members of the librarians and archivists (LA) bargaining unit and the UWOFA Board have already been hard at work. The negotiating team and the Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC) were formed over the summer and have been meeting monthly since September.

The members of the negotiating team are chief negotiator Johanna Weststar (faculty member), deputy chief negotiator Kristin Hoffmann, Samuel Cassady, Marni Harrington, and Cindy Cossar-Jones (UWOFA Professional Officer). They also serve on the CBC with the extra support of John Costella, Denise Horoky, Brian McMillan, Courtney Waugh and Cheryl Woods. This is an incredibly strong and well-balanced team. Johanna and Kristin are fresh off the faculty unit bargaining round, many have experience from previous rounds of LA bargaining, participating in the pay equity struggle for librarians and archivists, and serving on Joint Committee and the UWOFA Board. As well, some fresh faces add new perspectives and build capacity across the unit.

We offer our great thanks to Sam Trosow who was serving on the negotiating team and will be stepping down due to his recent election to the Western Board of Governors. We will miss Sam on the team, but know he will be doing great work for all UWOFA members at the BoG. Sam will be replaced by a member of the current CBC and we’ll invite an additional librarian to join us on the CBC.

The CBC has convened two focus group sessions and conducted two surveys of the LA membership to gather input about their goals for this bargaining round. The Western Libraries Organizational Renewal Initiative has brought change and uncertainty for many of our librarian and archivist colleagues. This reinforces our need to negotiate a fair contract that sustains fulfilling careers and values librarians and archivists as important contributors to the academic mission of the university.

Throughout the next few months the CBC will finalize bargaining goals, present them at an LA bargaining unit meeting and seek a mandate through a vote of the bargaining unit. The negotiating team will head to the table in the spring.

In addition to the work of the NT and CBC, there are numerous activities required to support the bargaining process. These can range from volunteering to staff voting tables to distributing informational leaflets to helping with strike preparations. The librarians and archivists will be out in full force, but any faculty members who wish to show solidarity with their LA colleagues in these more direct ways are encouraged to contact Johanna Weststar (weststar [at] uwo [dot] ca ())

Johanna weststar is the chief negotiator of the librarians and archivists bargaining unit