September 21, 2022
June 16th, 2022
Updates on Negotiations
As reported in last week’s Bargaining Bulletin, in late May, when the Employer was not following through on its stated intention to schedule bargaining meetings, UWOFA proposed 29 half days for the parties to meet to negotiate in the period from June 13 to July 15. The Employer is only now responding to the UWOFA negotiating team’s proposal.
The Employer proposes 3 half days over the next month, and all on the last two days before the summer break. They have also added an additional week to the one-month pause in bargaining that had been agreed upon, with only 5 half days in their proposal for the period from August 23 to September 2. This stands in stark contrast to the 9 productive meetings the parties had in the last round of faculty collective bargaining from June 6 to July 16, 2018, bargaining which nonetheless took until November to reach an agreement. At this rate it appears we may still be in negotiations in 2023.
During negotiations, UWOFA and the Employer’s negotiating teams will hold a series of meetings to exchange proposals and respond to each other’s positions. Each side also meets separately throughout the process to discuss and redraft their respective proposals. This can be a time-consuming process. While it plays out, both sides generally do not comment publicly in much detail on the specific positions on the table. UWOFA’s negotiating team can usually only give us the broad strokes of what is happening and inform members of crucial matters that are affecting the progress of negotiations.
A vote of the faculty bargaining unit must be held before a new collective agreement can be ratified. This vote would only be called once the negotiating team has received an offer it wants to recommend to the membership, and it has had the opportunity to present that offer.
We now have a few Employer-proposed dates for bargaining, in part due to your raised voices last week, and you can continue to make a difference. The negotiating team will keep working hard on your behalf to make the most of the limited time offered, but the more time we can get at the table, the sooner we can come to an agreement. Members are encouraged to show support for the negotiating team in the following ways:
Sample Letter/Email Template
SUBJECT: Timeline to the Bargaining Table
June 16, 2022
Dear President Shepard and Provost Strzelczyk:
I write to you in support of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association as their representatives work to begin negotiations for a new faculty Collective Agreement.
The current agreement expires on June 30, 2022, which is fast approaching. I am disappointed to learn that the Employer is proposing that bargaining not begin until July 14th, despite having had over two months to get the process started and a range of earlier dates suggested by the UWOFA negotiating team. As the mandated summer break takes place immediately after the half days proposed in mid-July, bargaining will then be delayed again until nearly the end of August.
As a stakeholder in the university, I demand the Employer prioritise these negotiations and work with UWOFA to achieve a fair agreement without delay. After two years of a pandemic, many UWOFA members feel overworked and overlooked.
Are these delays how the Employer expresses its thanks to faculty for their dedication to quality education?