UWOFA-LA collective bargaining Update. Vol. 5, No. 5

Bargaining Bulletin – July 2019

In May of this year, your negotiating team attempted to reach a quick settlement with the employer in advance of the province’s wage cap legislation. Unfortunately, the employer scuttled this proposal, and traditional negotiations began on June 11.  The two sides have met 5 times so far with 5 more meetings on the schedule before talks pause for the summer.

Three key issues have emerged:

Fair compensation and benefits

On June 5, the province introduced Bill 124, which would cap public sector wage increases at 1%. The Ontario legislature has risen for the summer, however, and is not expected to return until October 28, after the federal election. Given this, your negotiating team is taking a 'business as usual' approach, tabling a reasonable proposal for compensation and benefits in line with those negotiated with other employee groups on campus. Your team is working hard to prevent librarians and archivists from falling even further behind in wages and benefits relative to the rest of the university and other comparator universities.

Workload

Over the past 10 years, the number of librarians and archivists has fallen by over 20%, from 53 to 42. As part of broader university budget concerns, the employer recently announced that four vacant librarian positions would not be filled. This unprecedented erosion of complement is a huge blow, both to members’ individual workload and to the quality of service they can provide to the university community at large. Your negotiating team is fighting to make gains around complement during this round of bargaining.

Professional autonomy and governance

UWOFA-LA members identified enhanced professional autonomy and governance as a primary bargaining goal. To this end, your team has tabled a proposal to establish a Librarians and Archivists Council as a way to increase librarians and archivists’ voices in the governing process. Your team is committed to increasing transparent and collegial decision-making across the library system.