UWOFA Voices: ‘A better choice is to get up and do my part, however small that might be’

Ann Bigelow

June 24, 2019

When I stand up in the face of injustice, I know that I will be supported by my union, and for that I am very grateful. When I’m talking to my students I frequently tell them that the problems of this world are so big that they often seem unresolvable, and therefore it might feel that the best thing to do is roll over in the morning and go back to sleep, or spend hours watching Netflix. But, in my opinion, a better choice is to get up and do my part, however small that might be. I think that while it might be possible for me to make a big splash, what is more important is that I make little splashes every day.

UWOFA Voices: 'It feels right to work toward better stewardship'

Ben Rubin

June 17, 2019

In his graduate course, Forest Decline Concepts, Dr. Manion asked us “How much tree mortality is normal in a forest and how can you know when and where that baseline level is exceeded?” I took the question to heart and started as his graduate student to trek through the woods, measure thousands of trees, read papers, and sweat through analyzing data. At forest pathology conferences I took pride in knowing that our lab dealt with big picture questions and the health of the forest, while most presentations I heard were about maladies of individual trees.  Predictably, when I reflect on my past mindset now, I am most struck by my own myopia. I wanted a professorial career based solely on a love of science and was naïve to the workings of the precarious academy that houses science.  It never occurred to me that, as a professor, I’d want to work to support my labour union.

OCUFA statement on public sector wage restraint legislation

June 12, 2019

Ontario faculty are deeply concerned by the Ford government's attempt to cap public sector compensation increases at one per cent per year. This legislation represents an attack on the right to free and fair collective bargaining, a threat to pay equity and benefits for contract faculty and other marginalized workers, and an erosion of the foundations of Ontario's important public services.

Q&A with Johanna Weststar and Kristin Hoffmann

June 3, 2019

Librarians and archivists at the University of Western Ontario are to begin collective bargaining this month. As UWOFA gears up for its next round of negotiations, Johanna Weststar and Kristin Hoffmann, chief negotiator and deputy chief negotiator, sat down to discuss what librarians and archivists hope to achieve in the next Collective Agreement.

Involvement with Academics Without Borders a natural fit for UWOFA

Vanessa Frank

May 22, 2019

Mindful that UWOFA members care deeply about quality education, UWOFA considers a partnership with Academics Without Borders a natural fit. Earlier this year, the UWOFA Board of Directors unanimously approved partnering with Western’s Academics Without Borders committee to raise awareness about future opportunities to volunteer with the organization. The initiative provides funded opportunities for faculty members (particularly those on sabbatical leave or recently retired), staff, and administrators to volunteer at universities in low resourced areas of the global south in teaching, curriculum development, and program development.

Contract faculty members win teaching awards

May 16, 2019

Nine Western contract faculty members recently won teaching awards at the university. The majority of the 2019 award winners for excellence in teaching are contract academic staff, showing a deep commitment to engaging and innovative teaching techniques among our contract faculty colleagues.

Message to members about public sector labour relations and compensation

Dan Belliveau

May 14, 2019

On May 3, 2019 the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities held a consultation meeting with post-secondary employee groups to discuss how to "manage Ontario public sector compensation growth in a way that results in wage settlements that are modest, reasonable and sustainable". Unfortunately, this 'consultation exercise' turned out to be a mere formality as the government prepares to introduce legislated changes to bargaining. We have since learned, as has been reported in some media outlets, that the government is considering wage control measures.

Attend the Worldviews on Media and Higher Education Conference

April 26, 2019

The Worldviews on Media and Higher Education Conference will focus on democracy and the changing relationships in higher education and the media in the global north and south. There will be panel discussions on precarious work and media coverage of unions and labour relations that may be of particular interest to UWOFA members.

University budget cuts unnecessary during a time of financial health

April 25, 2019

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) has submitted a letter to the university Board of Governors expressing concern regarding Western’s proposed 2019-2020 operating and capital budget. UWOFA recognizes that the 10 per cent tuition reduction announced by the provincial government will have an impact on the university’s operating budget. However, Western has an undistributed investment returns balance of $303 million as of September 2018. In the fiscal year ending April 2018, Western had $131.6 million in operating surpluses and an accumulated surplus of $687 million since 2010. Western can choose not to respond to the 10 per cent tuition reduction by imposing budget cuts.