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

September 7th, 2023


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.