November 7 Bargaining Update - Vol. 7 No. 14

Yesterday, at this late stage in bargaining, the employer asked your negotiating team for concessions in our existing health benefits package - concessions that had not been proposed in their previous offers at the table. The employer offered a small salary increase that does not   begin to close the wage gap that exists between Western and its comparator institutions (Guelph, McMaster, Waterloo and Queens). In fact it will only widen that gap over the period of the contract. What is being offered is still below many other recent settlements at Ontario universities. To add insult to injury, the employer has failed to offer anything significant to improve job security for our contract faculty members. 

As detailed in previous Bargaining Bulletins, Western’s financial position is extremely strong, and yet the Board of Governors and administration consistently choose not to reinvest in the university’s core mission of quality education, teaching and research. Our examination of the university’s budget reveals the university has accumulated close to $700 million in surplus over the past 9 years. And a recent fund-raising campaign raised over $800 million. All this while student tuition has risen steadily over the past 5 years. It’s no wonder that Western enjoys a strong AA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s. Western can easily afford to reinvest in the university’s core mission, and it’s time they did.