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IUOE Local 772 Operating Engineers on strike at Western!

Western’s Operating Engineers are on strike as of October 12 2023. Their labour is essential to the safe running of Heating, Ventilation and AC systems and utilities across the university. 

They are fighting for fair compensation amidst staffing shortages which threaten to jeopardise their capacity to do their jobs. Competitive wage rates would help to attract and retain qualified engineers, but the university is unwilling to offer a fair market adjustment, despite the union opting not to pursue other monetary gains in this round of bargaining, such as increases in benefits, premiums or pension. 

Please come out to support these workers by picketing in solidarity when you are able – before work, afterwards or during a break in your work-day. 

UWOFA stands in solidarity with the Operating Engineers at Western. Their fight for fair compensation and adequate staffing is also our fight. 

Picketing will start at 7am on October 12. The London Transit Commission will reroute all 11 bus routes that run through campus to avoid crossing picket lines. Buses will not come to stops on Western’s campus during a strike.

UWOFA files Notice of Application for Judicial Review

LONDON, October 11, 2023 – The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) has served and filed a Notice of Application for Judicial Review related to their Employer’s unilateral decision to “integrate” Brescia University College into the University of Western Ontario, the process followed in reaching that decision, and the steps taken in furtherance of the decision to date.

What is a Judicial Review?

Judicial Review is the process by which courts ensure that the decisions of administrative bodies are fair, reasonable, and lawful. This includes ensuring that statutory powers are exercised in a manner that is consistent with the relevant enabling legislation, and in accordance with the duty of procedural fairness owed to stakeholders whose rights, privileges, and interests may be affected by the decision.

What has the Employer done? 

Western and Brescia’s presidents signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 21, 2023. The Memorandum of Understanding states on its face that most of its provisions are not legally binding; however, it clearly articulates a well-formed and specific plan for our Employer to integrate Brescia, including by absorbing all of its students and operations, continuing its unique educational offerings, upholding its founding vision and mission, and offering employment to all of its staff and faculty. The administration has begun acting on the decision and implementation plan and is not being transparent about those efforts. 

Importantly, although Western has been acting as if the integration is a fait accompli, the decision has not gone through the appropriate decision-making processes. 

Why a Judicial Review?

The judicial review has been made necessary by the Employer’s strident unilateral conduct and the opacity with which they have operated and are continuing to operate with respect to this matter.

The Employer may claim that this is a typical corporate acquisition within its exclusive managerial power and discretion. This is not true. Universities are public institutions and management is bound by long-established rules and principles of post-secondary governance.

The UWO Act sets out a bicameral system of governance – in other words, it provides for shared power between the Board and the Senate. The Board’s managerial powers are not absolute; they are subject to the Senate’s powers over the academics of the university. Furthermore, as with any administrative decision maker, Western owes a duty of procedural fairness to parties whose rights, privileges, and interests are affected by its decisions – including UWOFA, and others.

The Employer has ignored these legal responsibilities in the manner it has approached the Brescia integration. The decision was made without involvement from the Senate. While it may ultimately be put to Senate, it is clear that the decision has been made and is being acted upon such that any Senate process would be a sham – at best, an attempt to legitimize an illegal decision after-the-fact. Furthermore, the decision was made without any consultation with UWOFA, or indeed any notice prior to the public media releases. This is problematic from a procedural fairness perspective given the far-reaching implications for UWOFA Members and their Collective Agreements with Western.

UWOFA has raised these concerns with senior administration. Unfortunately, instead of making efforts to correct course or engage in good faith with UWOFA since announcing the integration, the Employer has continued a troubling pattern of withholding or misrepresenting information. They have taken steps in furtherance of the integration without transparency to UWOFA, meeting with Members without informing or inviting UWOFA, creating additional workload for department Chairs, and circumventing established processes for Appointments.

This is alarming and is unprecedented in Canadian higher education. It is an attack on the core of collegial governance. 

What is UWOFA hoping to achieve?

Through the Judicial Review, UWOFA calls on the courts to scrutinize the process and decision Western has made. The Notice of Application seeks standard remedies available in these circumstances, including asking the court to quash Western’s decision and stop taking steps to implement it, to declare that Western has not complied with its legal obligations, and to require Western to do so. 

Most importantly, UWOFA has taken this step in order to protect the basic principles of collegial governance and to demonstrate that managerial overreach will not go unchecked.

Why is collegial governance so important? 

Collegial governance is the cornerstone of academic freedom, and essential for the transparent exercise of academic judgement in decision making. It is, in essence, a form of peer review in the operation and management of post-secondary institutions and it is essential for scholarship, teaching and our duty to the public. 

The fundamental principle is that post-secondary institutions are operated jointly by administrators and by academic staff. This happens through representation on the Senate and various committees and subcommittees, as well as through the processes set out in our Collective Agreements. For example, the Faculty Collective Agreement sets out clear processes for Appointments and Promotion, Tenure, & Continuing Status, which involve faculty involvement in the decision-making processes. Western purports to bypass these processes in the context of the Brescia takeover. 

UWOFA represents over 1600 full-time and part-time faculty, and 44 Full-Time Librarians and Archivists. 

For more information contact: Maram Hijazi, UWOFA Communications Officer,

Strike Averted – UWOFA-LA has signed Tentative Agreement

The Negotiating Team has now signed a tentative agreement with the Employer and recommends that the UWOFA-LA Membership ratify this deal.

We appreciate that this process has been arduous and we commend the Members of the Bargaining Unit for their support and engagement with both each other and the negotiating team. 

Next Steps

Members will be provided with the full details of the deal 5 days before a Bargaining Unit meeting and ratification vote (this is UWOFA policy). We will aim to have this to you as soon as possible and will let you know when it is accessible via the Members only sync folder. 

Stay tuned for information regarding the date and location of the ratification meeting. This will be a hybrid meeting. In-person voting will take place immediately after the meeting, with online voting scheduled for the following day.

Librarians & Archivists: Bargaining Bulletin Vol. 6, No. 23

It has been a tumultuous week for many in our campus community, given the announcement about Western’s impending integration with an affiliate college and its manifold implications. While we are now managing this Brescia situation, the L&A negotiations are even more of a priority – read on for critical information about this.

Mark your calendars!

Next Monday, October 2nd, there will be an information meeting for Bargaining Unit members at 10am via Zoom (link to come), followed by a Rally on UC Hill at noon

Brescia Integration

We are dismayed that nothing about this decision has been disclosed at the bargaining table. Labour Boards consistently uphold the fact that both parties have an obligation to disclose plans and decisions that could have a material effect on union members. Surely a plan that has implications for complement (one of our key bargaining issues) would qualify as an item requiring disclosure. 

If the Employer had been planning to wait until October 3rd (the next time we are at the table) to disclose this information, it would be far too late in the process, given our strike deadline of October 4th, which is only 8 days away.

We can also see from certain elements of this announcement – public commitment to mass job offers and endowment funds – that Western is in a very healthy financial position. This makes the current offers on the table for Librarians and Archivists, and other employee groups, particularly insulting. 

As we wait for negotiations to resume, let’s demand respect for our L&A colleagues by calling on our Employer to do the right thing and bring a fair and equitable deal to the table before it’s too late to avert a strike.

Western needs more Librarians and Archivists, and it needs to compensate them fairly. As the events of the last week have shown, they can certainly afford it.

Strike Preparation

Please keep an eye out for an invitation to picket training – all bargaining unit members are welcome, even if you just want to come and learn about picket protocols. Training is scheduled for this Friday, September 29 @ 1:00pm.

Strike FAQs are now available for:

  • Librarians and Archivists (in the shared sync folder with the bargaining proposals)
  • Faculty
  • Students


UWOFA members attended the PSAC 610 Respect Our Research rally on Wednesday September 20th and marched at UC Hill. I gave a speech on the importance of research and education and adequate staffing levels of Librarians and Archivists to support both. 

The event was a success as there was a big turnout and we were able to secure volunteers from outside the Bargaining Unit for picketing should we go on strike.

Western’s Board of Governors met on Thursday, September 21st on campus. UWOFA Members packaged a letter along with a compensation comparison table and the Career Trajectory Fund Report to give out to each member of the Board of Governors. Members also printed and delivered 707 emails of support to Provost Florentine Strzelczyk, to remind her of the important work that Librarians and Archivists do and of the substantial community advocacy behind them.  But…she forgot to take them with her when she left.

UWOFA attended this year’s homecoming. We distributed over 500 information flyers, buttons, and stickers to a very receptive audience of students, faculty, and alumni in support of Librarians and Archivists who have set a strike deadline for October 4th. Numerous attendees showed their support by sending an email to Western’s administration. 

Gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our amazing Librarian and Archivist support campaign so far, but our work is not done. As our strike deadline approaches, we must all continue to fight for our Librarians and Archivists!

UWOFA concerned about implications of Brescia/Western merger

LONDON, September 25, 2023 – The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) has significant concerns about the announcement, made last week, that Brescia University College will integrate with Western University, beginning in May 2024. 

UWOFA stands in solidarity with staff, faculty and students at Brescia who were blindsided by this news and deserve far better from the University.

“We are appalled that this decision was made without consulting either Brescia’s Faculty Association or UWOFA, despite the clear implications for members of both Unions,” said UWOFA President Rachel Heydon. “We were additionally disappointed not to be informed directly by Western’s administration before a public announcement was made. Further, even now we have not had any member of Western administration get in touch with UWOFA to invite discussion. UWOFA has been left completely out of the loop despite Collective Agreement requirements for collegial governance.” 

There are many significant implications of this proposed integration for Western and Brescia faculty, librarians and archivists, and UWOFA members are troubled by the extremely limited information available at this point. 

“Because our Unions have both the duty and the long-standing practice of looking after people’s livelihood, our Associations and other employee groups at Western and Brescia should have been involved with these talks from the outset and not informed as an afterthought,” said Heydon. “It is we who care for our people — our corporate Employers manifestly do not.” 

UWOFA is investigating answers to a range of questions, including Western’s plans for Brescia’s assets and resources as well as the logistics and implications of its promise to hire Brescia faculty and staff. UWOFA calls on the University to engage meaningfully with UWOFA and the Brescia Faculty Association on any developments related to this potential integration of campuses, in line with collegial governance rules.

“Collegial governance is a prerequisite for academic freedom; UWOFA is a vigorous defender of both,” said Heydon. 

UWOFA represents over 1600 Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty, Academic Librarians and Archivists.

For more information contact: UWOFA Communications Officer, Maram Hijazi, 519-661-3016,

Librarians & Archivists: Bargaining Bulletin Vol. 6, No. 22

As we reported last week, the Librarians and Archivists strike vote returned a 100% YES! Mandate. On Sunday, September 17, a “No-Board” report was filed with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development on Sunday, September 17. This means we will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 am on October 4th.

Strike Preparation – BU Members please complete Strike Survey by September 20

Librarians and Archivists Bargaining Unit members will have received a link to a Strike Information Questionnaire last week. Please fill out this survey now if you have not already done so. The information being collected is essential for ensuring that we can support and serve all members in the event of a strike or lockout.  

Respect Our Research Rally – Wednesday, September 20, 12pm at UC Hill

This rally is being hosted by PSAC 610, the union that represents graduate TAs and postdoctoral fellows at Western, but it is for the entire university community to join together to protest the lack of public funding for higher education from the provincial and federal governments. UWOFA’s President will be speaking at the event, along with speakers from unions across campus and the wider London community. 

As Librarians and Archivists at Western are integral to the university’s teaching, learning and research mission, this is a good opportunity to further highlight the importance of their work as teaching, learning and research professionals – work which is threatened by the Employer’s refusal to commit to an equitable collective agreement. 

Help Avert a Strike

October 4th is only a few weeks away. While we are so grateful for the support we have already received (643 people have sent emails to 6 recipients = 3708 emails in total!!), now is the time to take action, if you haven’t already done so. We must continue to “Get Loud” together and demand that our Employer bring a fair deal for Librarians and Archivists to the table when negotiations resume. 

The ways you can do this include sending a (customizable) letter to the Administration, demonstrating support online using our social media profile and Zoom background templates, discussing the issues with your students and colleagues and coming out in person to help leaflet and participate in rallies. You can find these resources and more here on the UWOFA website. 

There is nothing that can be done at this university without Librarians and Archivists. All teaching and research are enabled and sustained by their labour. The oftentimes invisibility of this labour can make it feel like magic. It is not. It is work. We demand that this work is valued accordingly with an offer that recognizes and rewards it.

Librarians & Archivists: Bargaining Bulletin Vol. 6, No. 21

UWOFA negotiators returned to the table with bargaining facilitated by the government-appointed conciliator Paul Pooler. Here is what we have to report:

The Parties reached agreement on 3 more articles:

  • Library Directors and Heads
  • Professional Leave
  • Promotion & Continuing Appointment

UWOFA returned 1 article and introduced 1 new LOU:

  • Vacations and Holidays
    • We want to close the large gap between 2 and 19 years of service in terms of the vacation day allocation.
    • We proposed that Members receive a one-time vacation allocation of 3 days upon completion of 5 years of service and one-time allocations of 5 vacation days upon completion of 10 and 15 years of service.
    • UWOFA is hopeful for a mutually satisfactory resolution.
  • LOU – On-Call Work
    • The parties have agreed that Joint Committee will monitor on-call work and extended work outside of normal working hours.
    • The parties have agreed that Members required to perform on-call work or extended duties beyond normal working hours shall have the discretion to take equivalent time in lieu with notification to their supervisor.

Articles and LOUs exchanged today can, as always, be found in the shared Sync folder. There may be a delay in uploading the Employer’s paperwork, but it should be there by early next week. 

UWOFA asked about what office space will ultimately be provided for Members who are being relocated from Elborn College to Weldon Library. The Chief Librarian has assured us that there will be offices for those being relocated. The capacity is tight in terms of the current complement, but there is some room for growth.

The Employer remains unwilling to consider any proposals addressing complement, while also insisting that a 4-year deal is non-negotiable. They additionally feel that their last monetary offer (June 28) is the best they can do, despite our arguments about comparator institutions and even other bargaining units on this campus getting more than Librarians and Archivists.

This is very disappointing. We had hoped that our Employer would have used the two-month break in negotiations to consider the reasoned arguments we have presented and become more focused on solutions. 

Upcoming Bargaining Dates

  • Tuesday, September 12
  • Friday, September 15
  • Thursday, September 21 (half day)

Given the Employer’s apparently intractable position on our key remaining bargaining goals (commitment to complement and a fair monetary offer), we have decided to cancel the upcoming conciliation dates and move forward with the next steps required to be in a legal strike position.

Conciliator to File No-Board Report

We have asked Paul Pooler to file a “No-Board” Report, as this begins the process of putting us in a legal position for labour disruption action. Once this report is filed, a 17-day cooling off period begins, after which we would be in a legal strike position.  

Take Action

Did you know that the ratio of students to Librarians and Archivists at Western is nearly 900:1? This statistic reflects both an increase in student enrolment and a decrease in the number of L&As, resulting in a ratio that has nearly doubled since 2010. Please send and share this letter to our employer letting them know how important an adequate complement of Librarians and Archivists is to making and keeping workloads sustainable. The work of Librarians and Archivists is indispensable and crucially underpins the success of Western’s academic mission of teaching, learning and research. Western needs more Librarians and Archivists, not less! (yes we know “fewer” is more correct, but less is pithier in this context, and importantly rhymes with “success.” What rhymes with “fewer” – sewer?) 

You can also continue to promote awareness of the issues and voice your support by using and sharing the resources provided here, which include posters, profile pictures, zoom backgrounds, a customizable email signature with clickable links to UWOFA social media accounts, and slides to include in lectures or presentations.  

Info picketing is now underway. Join us tomorrow in front of Alumni Hall, at 11:30am – the UWOFA Beats Collective will be in attendance at 12:30pm. 

UWOFA-LA Bargaining Unit in a legal strike position as of October 4

LONDON, September 18, 2023 

“There is nothing that can be done at this university without librarians and archivists. All teaching and research are enabled and sustained by their labour. The oftentimes invisibility of this labour can make it feel like magic. It is not. It is work.” ~ UWOFA President, Rachel Heydon.

The Bargaining Unit representing Librarians and Archivists at the University of Western Ontario (UWOFA-LA) held a strike vote last week, as part of a series of necessary steps in preparing for strike action, as contract negotiations with the University Administration are currently at an impasse. 

Librarians and Archivists voted 100% in favour of allowing the UWOFA Board of Directors to authorise strike action should this become necessary to achieve a fair and equitable collective agreement for Librarian and Archivist Bargaining Unit Members. This result demonstrates a strong mandate from the Members and an overwhelming vote of confidence in the Negotiating Team.  

A “No-Board” report was also filed with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development on Sunday, September 17, putting the UWOFA-LA Bargaining Unit in a legal strike position as of October 4.

This was neither a necessary nor foregone conclusion. The Parties were engaged in productive and collegial bargaining throughout the process. However, it is the Employer’s refusal to commit to appropriate Human Resource planning or to adequately compensate Librarians and Archivists for their important work, that has brought things to this point.

The ratio of students to Librarians and Archivists at Western is nearly 900:1, almost twice what it was in 2011. Burgeoning student enrolments, combined with a decrease in Bargaining Unit personnel, has resulted in workloads that are often unsustainable or work that simply cannot be addressed by the professionals best equipped to do it.

Librarians and Archivists aren’t just working harder in trying to do more with fewer people, they are also underpaid while doing it. Pay inequities have long plagued this Bargaining Unit as outlined in a recent committee report. These inequities have only been exacerbated by both inflation and Bill 124. 

The problems just outlined have serious implications for Western Libraries’ ability to attract and retain top people. One resignation has occurred since bargaining began and up to six retirements are expected over the life of the next contract – together this represents 16% of the total Librarian and Archivist workforce. The University Administration has refused to make any commitment to hiring more Librarians and Archivists, or even to maintaining the current number of positions. These issues additionally have serious implications for the ability of Western to attract a strong candidate for the Chief Librarian position, for which a search is currently underway. 

The amount of money and the hiring commitment required to get a fair deal for Librarians and Archivists is marginal in the face of Western’s total resources. It is clear that the University can afford to distribute these resources more equitably and UWOFA is calling on Western to reinvest in a more sustainable future for the university’s core mission of teaching, learning and research. 

The UWOFA-LA Negotiating Team remains committed to reaching a fair deal at the bargaining table and is hopeful that the university Administration will make an offer that addresses their concerns and avoids a strike.

An institution that aspires to be a “world class university” has to do more to achieve this goal than just speaking it aloud. Hiring more Librarians and Archivists, and compensating them fairly, is essential to this vision. 

UWOFA-LA represents 44 Full-Time Librarians and Archivists and is part of UWOFA, the union which also represents over 1600 full-time and part-time faculty.

For more information contact: Maram Hijazi, UWOFA Communications Officer,

UWOFA negotiating team is returning to the bargaining table

LONDON, September 6th, 2023 – The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) negotiating team is returning to the bargaining table tomorrow, after an extended summer break, to continue to fight for a fair deal for Western’s Librarians and Archivists.  

This return to the table will be facilitated by Paul Pooler who was appointed as a conciliator by the Ontario government, upon request from UWOFA in July.

UWOFA-LA, the Bargaining Unit representing Librarians and Archivists, has been in negotiations with Western University since May. The parties have reached agreement on many things, but key outstanding issues remain. They are:

  • Increasing and maintaining the number of Librarians and Archivists at Western
  • Proper recognition of the professional status and expertise of Librarians and Archivists at Western
  • A fair monetary package

If conciliation is unsuccessful, next steps would involve holding a strike vote, and then filing a “No Board” Report followed by a 17-day cooling off period, after which UWOFA-LA would be in a legal strike position.

The UWOFA-LA negotiating team remains committed to reaching a fair deal at the table and is hopeful that the university administration will make an offer that addresses their concerns and avoids a strike.

UWOFA-LA is supported by other members of the campus community, including the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, which hung a solidarity banner today in the FIMS and Nursing Building. 

People holding a banner saying "FIMS Supports a Fair Deal for Western Librarians & Archivists"

To show your support, please visit the UWOFA website to send a pre-written letter to senior Western administrators:

UWOFA-LA represents 44 Full-Time Librarians and Archivists and is part of UWOFA, the union which also represents over 1600 full-time and part-time faculty.

For more information contact: Maram Hijazi, UWOFA Communications Officer,

Librarians & Archivists: Bargaining Bulletin Vol. 6, No. 20

With the fall term beginning soon, many Librarians and Archivists are preparing materials for teaching or in support of faculty teaching. Please read on for UWOFA’s advice for how to manage this work in the event of a potential labour disruption. This bulletin also includes some reminders about upcoming events we would really like to see you come out for.

UWOFA-LA Members

Please continue to prepare your materials but we encourage you to avoid sharing your materials with colleagues outside of UWOFA-LA in case we end up in a labour disruption. We also encourage you to inform faculty partners about your decision to wait until immediately before an affected class to share any materials and ask that they share this rationale with the students. You can find helpful presentation slides and more here.  

You can additionally share your rationale with UWOSA colleagues who might be supporting your teaching work. Please let them know that they are not expected to teach in your absence. If, however, they are directed to do so by managers outside of UWOFA-LA, they should comply and communicate the request to UWOSA. By avoiding pre-sharing of materials, we can help our UWOSA colleagues to better navigate such a request.  

In the specific case of pulling physical materials, you may want to consider protecting such materials with a code that only you know, making it more challenging for these materials to be used in your absence. 

If you have questions or would like support, please reach out to Kim Carson ( from Teaching & Learning.

UWOFA Faculty Members

As you can see above, we are advising UWOFA-LA members to avoid sharing teaching materials with faculty and students until immediately before they are required. In this way, they are protecting their intellectual property and also reducing the need for others to decide whether to teach a class in their absence. Please support our UWOFA-LA colleagues by communicating with your students about the current state of negotiations with the UWOFA-LA Bargaining Unit.  

If you have concerns about the impact of potential labour disruption on you or your students, please share them with UWO President Alan Shepard ( and Board of Governors Chair Keith Gibbons ( and copy UWOFA. 

See below and visit our Take Action page for more ways to support our Librarian and Archivist colleagues in their fight for a fair contract. You can also find past bargaining bulletins here if you are unclear about the current state of bargaining and the remaining issues. 

Upcoming Events: Please come!

We return to negotiations next week, as our first day of conciliation coincides with the first day of undergrad classes on September 7th. As we gear up to return to the table, we would like to invite you again to the following events:

    • Friday, September 1st – L&A Social at the Grad Club, 2pm start
      • This is an opportunity for colleagues to reconnect as we head into the fall
    • Monday, September 4th (Labour Day)London and District Labour Council picnic, 12-4pm at East Lion’s Park
      • Join UWOFA at East Lions Park (1731 Churchill Avenue) to celebrate the achievements of workers. Look for the UWOFA flags and table! Bring the whole family! Labour Day is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of the labour movement and the benefits of having a union at work.
      • We will be sharing material with the public about Librarian and Archivist bargaining. 
  • O-Week info pickets – beginning September 7th and 8th
    • UWOFA’s Librarians and Archivists are fighting for fair compensation, adequate staffing and recognition for their professional status.  These things are necessary for a high class library system at Western. 
    • Help us spread the word to faculty, staff and students on campus. Please reach out to David Heap ( to sign up for a short shift.

We will be holding a Bargaining Information Meeting for L&A Members and the UWOFA Board on September 13th, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm in Taylor Library (there will be an option to attend remotely, Zoom link to come next week).