Librarians & Archivists: Bargaining Bulletin Vol. 6, No. 5
May 17, 2023
Now that bargaining is underway, we have begun to share a series of videos introducing L&A members. You can find them on our various social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They will also be archived on the UWOFA website. Please share widely!
UWOFA and the Employer had their second bargaining meeting on May 16.
We have now signed off on additional Housekeeping items: one LOU – regarding Covid-19 Pandemic Provisions, and one Article – Professional Expense Reimbursement. The LOU documents accommodations provided during Covid, setting a precedent for any future disaster scenarios. PER claims can now be submitted up until the expiry of any new Collective Agreement provided they are incurred within the allotted time-frame.
In this session UWOFA presented proposals for 8 articles and 5 Letters of Understanding (LOUs) – 3 of which are new:
Library Directors and Heads
Responsibilities of Members
Retirement and Resignation
Vacation and Holidays
LOU: Annual Planning Process
LOU (New): Librarian and Archivist Qualifications
LOU (New): Promotion of Members with Continuing Appointment at Assistant Rank
LOU (New): Ratios of Librarians and Archivists to Students
LOU: Transition Promotion Fund
We will continue to post articles as we open them in a Bargaining Unit Member-only space. Members can also find details of the Employer’s proposals and signed-off items from Housekeeping there. UWOFA-LA Members should contact a member of the Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC – see below) who will then facilitate their access to this folder:
The Employer has asked to take Friday’s scheduled session for their own caucus and the UWOFA Negotiations Team has agreed. As we have shared twenty proposals with them over two days, I am sure they have a lot to discuss.
Bargaining will resume June 6th.
Please Save the Date: Wednesday, May 31st, 11am-12pm for a Bargaining Information Meeting. More info to come soon.
UWOFA and the Employer had their first bargaining meeting on May 15, 2023. Chief Negotiator Johanna Weststar opened the meeting by highlighting key issues and goals for this round of bargaining – complement, workload, recognition of professionalisation, and compensation. The Employer has signalled an intention to do what they reasonably can to reflect post Bill-124 settlements emerging in the sector, while also alluding to concerns about fiscal prudence, which are not unfamiliar.
Some housekeeping items remain to be concluded, but we expect to be done with them by the end of the week. We shared an overview of all our proposals and presented the ones listed below. The Employer presented three non-monetary proposals for Annual Report and Review (ARR), Appointments, and Library Directors & Heads.
UWOFA is proposing to open 15 articles and 4 Letters of Understanding (LOUs). Many proposals seek to achieve parity with the gains of the recently negotiated Faculty Collective Agreement. Additionally the UWOFA negotiating team is proposing 4 new LOUs, addressing support for members with disabilities, establishing an appropriate ratio of Librarians & Archivists to students, ensuring recognition and protection of professional qualifications, and providing a pathway to promotion for members grandparented at Assistant with Continuing status.
UWOFA presented proposals in full for 5 articles and 2 LOUs:
Report and Review
Pregnancy, Parental and Adoption Leave
Promotion and Continuing Appointment
LOU: Members with Disabilities Joint Working Group (JWG)
LOU: Member Offices
We will continue to post articles as we open them in a Bargaining Unit Member-only space. Members can also find details of the Employer’s proposals and signed-off items from Housekeeping there. UWOFA-LA Members should contact a member of the Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC – see below) to get access to this folder:
Bargaining continues this week with meetings scheduled on May 16 in the afternoon and again on Friday May 19. You can look forward to a new update shortly after each session.
UWOFA has been hard at work and has much to report to members. Items herein are crucial for the climate and conditions of our workplace. Please read on!
UWOFA Librarians and Archivists are about to begin bargaining. All members will want to be watching closely and are being called on to support a successful process.
UWOFA LA and the Employer are very close to completing the pre-bargaining Housekeeping process. We are pleased to report that it is going smoothly and quickly. In addition to the correction of typos, institutional name changes and revisions reflecting gender neutral terminology, we made numerous changes to align the Librarian and Archivist Collective Agreement with newly negotiated changes in the Faculty Collective Agreement. This has allowed our Negotiating team to achieve six bargaining goals while also improving additional processes and benefits.
Notable gains include:
We have posted the signed off Housekeeping articles in a Bargaining Unit Member-only space. UWOFA-LA Members should contact a member of the Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC) to get access to this folder:
Bargaining will begin next week with the first meeting scheduled on Monday, May 15 from 2-4pm and subsequent meetings on May 16 from 1-4pm and May 19 from 9am-noon.
Fund the Front Line
Members will also be wanting to watch what is happening in the post-Bill 124 landscape with collective bargaining in the province and UWOFA’s related Fund the Front Line campaign.
Ontario hospital nurses were recently awarded additional pay after Bill 124 was struck down. We continue to urge our Employer to do the right thing and return to the bargaining table regarding Faculty compensation. We encourage members to direct their concerns about this to Western leadership. This pressure is effective as it has already resulted in the Provost’s approval of our proposal that the promotion bonus eligibility be extended to all Faculty members whose promotion to Associate or Full Professor takes effect as of July 1, 2023.
Last week UWOFA members joined Western graduate students on International Workers’ Day for the Nation-wide walkout calling for additional federal research funding. I was inspired by the turn-out and encouraged to see growing intergenerational solidarity amongst various campus groups.
We are better together and must commit to working together. If you haven’t done so already, please sign and send our letter to Western leadership, calling for them to reopen the negotiation of faculty salaries and to bargain a fair contract for Librarians and Archivists which redresses the wrongs of Bill 124.
UWOFA and the Employer have now held five housekeeping meetings. One more is scheduled for Friday, May 5 to complete a few remaining items. We will provide the list of all items settled in housekeeping in the next update.
The parties will begin bargaining on May 15 and have meetings scheduled as follows:
You can expect brief updates after each bargaining session once these meetings have begun. More detailed information about proposals will be made available for L&A members who should keep an eye out for messages from members of the Collective Bargaining Committee about how to access these documents.
Recently UWOFA held the Fund the Front Line campaign launch, attended by a great mix of members from across campus as well as allies from OCUFA and PSAC with remarks sent by CAUT. The show of support for the launch is a crucial reminder of the power we have when we stand together to demand a better budget to support the university’s core mission of teaching, learning, and research. UWOFA members are the university; we are the core mission; we demand better.
Application for the UWOFA Contract Faculty Research and Professional Development Fund (CFRPDF) is now open.
Please complete the attached application form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the required documentation.
The total amount to be distributed is $10,000.
Deadline for submission is Friday, June 9, 2023 at 4:00pm.
You can follow this link for more background on the CFRPDF. If you have any questions, please reach out to email@example.com.
As you know, we are coming into a new bargaining season for the Librarians and Archivists bargaining unit. As with the Faculty negotiations last year, many of the bargaining goals we have identified reflect a common theme – the systemic underfunding of our labour across campus, due to a budget model that is fundamentally broken. This has resulted in burgeoning workloads, demoralised employees, and stagnant salaries (even before the implementation of the now defunct Bill 124).
Every time we sit down with the Employer to negotiate on behalf of members, we are told that they are constrained by a budget that demands sacrifices, as though the budget brings itself into being independently rather than reflecting the Employer’s own choices. Members have worked incredibly hard to bring Western through the worst of the pandemic and ensure it’s in better financial shape than ever before. Yet our Employer continues to fail to reinvest those gains in the frontline workers who make the university’s core mission of teaching, learning and research happen.
A better budget is possible, but only if we demand it. Let’s start now! Join your faculty, librarian and archivist colleagues in calling on Western to fund the frontline!
Fund the Frontline Campaign Launch: Grad Club on Wednesday, April 19th from 3-5pm – with catering and speakers
Last week I gave the Employer our official notice to bargain the librarian and archivist collective agreement. Our Campaign Launch also kickstarts L&A bargaining. Join your colleagues to learn more about this round of negotiations and show your solidarity.
UWOFA-LA Bargaining Update
Five housekeeping meetings have been scheduled for April. The first one was yesterday (April 11th), with more to come on the 19th, 20th, 24th, and 25th. Housekeeping meetings allow the Parties to settle issues that are relatively uncontroversial such as name changes and typos before full bargaining begins. There are many similarities between articles in the Faculty and the Librarians & Archivists collective agreements and important improvements were made to the Faculty agreement in the latest round. The Parties have agreed to apply these changes to the L&A collective agreement during housekeeping. This will maintain the parity of the agreements, achieve some of our L&A goals, and leave more space for discussion of other issues at the main table.
The Parties have also agreed on 16 bargaining dates starting in mid-May and continuing through early July.
See you at Fund the Frontline Campaign Launch at Grad Club on Wednesday, April 19th from 3-5pm to support our Librarians & Archivist colleagues!
LONDON, March 10th, 2023 – The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) is calling on the Ontario government to halt the appeals process and accept Justice Kuehnen’s ruling which struck down Bill 124 in November of last year. As UWOFA President Rachel Heydon recently stated in the London Free Press, the bill was “a constitutional overreach restricting free and fair collective bargaining.”
This appeal is only serving to add more uncertainty to the lives of working people hard hit by inflation, while also costing money that could be better spent reinvesting in the public sectors which desperately need it. This attack on workers must stop and free collective bargaining must be allowed to resume.
Queen’s University Faculty Association and University of Toronto CUPE 3902 Sessional Instructors have recently settled deals without a Bill 124 moderation period, indicating that some academic employers in this province have taken the court decision seriously and have decided not to continue to arbitrarily enforce salary-capping legislation that is no longer in effect.
UWOFA is optimistic that the ruling will be upheld, despite the government’s efforts to overturn it. Recent arbitration decisions acknowledge that Bill 124 is no longer in effect. UWOFA urges the Ford government to work together with public service employees instead of maintaining this unnecessarily adversarial position which wastes time, energy, and money that could be put to much more productive use.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
UWOFA is concerned that Western has abruptly terminated its mask mandate in instructional spaces. This sudden disruption to classrooms, without providing the campus community with any warning or time to prepare, raises serious issues for equity, inclusion, and accessibility that need to be addressed by the administration. We are particularly worried about the most vulnerable members of our campus community (and vulnerable loved ones), for whom COVID-19 and other respiratory infections may have serious consequences. This timing seems particularly ill-advised as students and professors are gearing up for midterm exams.
UWOFA’s position is informed through consultation with experts from the membership. We urge the university administration to reconsider its hasty decision and strongly encourage faculty and students to continue masking within instructional spaces, in order to protect each other from COVID-19.
We welcome your comments and feedback as we continue to carefully monitor the situation, consult with experts, and remain engaged with our membership and Western leadership to ensure that measures are in place to promote a truly healthy and inclusive teaching, learning and research environment for all.
Take care and stay safe.
Thank you to everyone who shared our recent message about the short window of opportunity to act on fair compensation for Western faculty while Bill 124 is no longer in effect.
Shortly after we wrote to you last Thursday, the Employer proposed to UWOFA’s chief negotiator that the parties add this matter to the agenda of a meeting scheduled for Tuesday December 20th. While we are pleased that the Employer has responded to our request, this does not guarantee that they will agree to our proposal for fair and appropriate pay increases.
We call on members to take action and join UWOFA in urging the Employer to agree to higher compensation before the Provincial government attempts to reinstate Bill 124.
Please find an email template that you can send to President Shepard, Vice-President Strzelczyk, Board Chair Gibbons and Vice-Chair Shortreed on the Take Action page of our website and share the letter widely on social media.
We can now report that the Faculty collective agreement 2022-26 is fully ratified. We appreciate the hard work and support of the many Members who contributed to this outcome.
Given the Ford government’s stated intention to appeal the Ontario Court decision which struck down Bill 124 as unconstitutional, there is considerable uncertainty about whether, how and when the court decision will affect pay increases for our bargaining units.
UWOFA leadership is currently consulting with sibling associations, OCUFA and labour experts on what the ruling means for the public sector workers in Ontario, the higher education sector and the faculty, librarians and archivists at Western specifically.
Everyone agrees that this is an unprecedented ruling given the number of unions and workers implicated and we need to take the time to choose the best course of action. Please be patient and we hope to be able to say more soon.
Members can contact the Ontario government directly with their concerns and urge them not to appeal this decision: