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Librarians & Archivists: Bargaining Bulletin Vol. 6, No. 5

May 17th, 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:


  • Complement is a primary concern for the bargaining unit. This proposal seeks to maintain complement by ensuring that permanent or temporary vacancies which result from resignation, retirement, termination, secondment or leave are filled.
  • The Employer argues that bargaining complement impinges upon their belief in a right to hire. UWOFA does not share this view

Education Leave

  • Proposes a contingency for Members who experience illness or injury while on leave, allowing  the Leave to be cancelled and possibly deferred

Library Directors and Heads

  • Proposes to clarify that the on-call duties of Library Directors relate only to the Faculty-based libraries for which they are responsible, while the on-call duties of Heads shall relate only to their Units

Professional Leave

  • Proposes to extend the maximum lengths of Academic Activity and Study Leaves to allow Members to propose more ambitious projects or to fully complete projects within the period of leave provided.
  • Proposes to remove current limitations which only allow for 2 FTE leaves per year across the entire bargaining unit

Responsibilities of Members

  • Clarifies that when Members receive assistance in Professional Practice from non-Members, it should be led by Members
  • This protects the  professional autonomy and expertise of Librarians and Archivists
  • Removes the requirement that Academic Activity must be related to librarianship or archival practice to expand Members’ options for Academic Activity and remove any potential infringement on academic freedom 

Retirement and Resignation

  • Proposes additional financial supports for a Phased Retirement transition (this is similar to a provision in the Faculty Collective Agreement)
  • Proposes that if a Member enters Phased Retirement and maintains a Workload of 50% or less, the position should be filled to help facilitate training and institutional knowledge transfer. 

Vacation and Holidays

  • Proposes regular and gradual increases to vacation entitlement so that Members would no longer need to wait till they have 19 years of full time service to see increases beyond 22 days.


  • Proposes that Workload shall be consistent with Member’s qualifications, position, and specific responsibilities as identified in their job description
  • Clarifies language to ensure that Workload is rooted in a Member’s qualifications and job description and can be informed by operational strategic and annual planning, but is not led by those processes. 
  • Proposes a process of negotiation regarding significant changes to a Member’s Workload, suggesting a variety of possible mutually acceptable solutions
  • States that it is not acceptable for Workload to increase as a result of a position vacancy 

LOU: Annual Planning Process

  • Proposes a language adjustment to reinforce that operational plans must not, by definition, dictate Workload

LOU (New): Librarian and Archivist Qualifications

  • Reinforces that the qualifications required to be hired as a Librarian or Archivist are only for those library positions
  • Proposes that the roles of Librarians and Archivists be accurately distinguished and identified relative to other library staff in both internal and external documents and communications
  • Librarians and Archivists are structurally made invisible on campus through such services as  “Ask a Librarian” chat service available on the Western Libraries website, which is not staffed by librarians at Western. Also, Librarians and Archivists are not included as a distinct employee group in University budget and planning documents, but included in the broad category of staff.

LOU (New): Promotion of Members with Continuing Appointment at Assistant Rank

  • Proposes that Members grandparented with Continuing Appointment at Assistant Rank be promoted to Associate Rank, to align with the requirement for Continuing Appointment established in 2015 and  better reflect the experience and expertise of those Members

LOU (New): Ratios of Librarians and Archivists to Students

  • Proposes to establish a 1:700 ratio of Librarians and Archivists to students, over the life of the agreement
  • Designed to address the need to have a complement with the capacity to adequately support student enrolment growth, a key element of Western’s strategic plan

LOU: Transition Promotion Fund

  • Proposes to let this lapse, contingent on the new LOU: Promotion of Members – see above

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:

  • Samuel Cassady
  • Kristin Hoffmann
  • Denise Horoky
  • Erin Johnson
  • Liz Mantz
  • Brian McMillan
  • Katya Pereyaslavska
  • Stephen Spong
  • Leslie Thomas
  • Courtney Waugh
  • Johanna Weststar

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.