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Time is running out to avert a strike

October 28th, 2022


The “No Board” report UWOFA requested last week was filed yesterday with the Ministry of Labour. This means that our Union will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01am Sunday, November 13th and our Employer will also be in a legal position to lock us out.  You can Take Action now to avert this. 

Bargaining continues with a full slate of sessions planned over the next two weeks, and the UWOFA Board of Directors will ultimately determine a strike deadline, but we must be prepared for all contingencies.

If you have not already done so, please fill out the Strike Action Questionnaire immediately to ensure your voice is heard. There is a lot of volunteer labour involved for the Strike Action Committee to process this information for the entire membership, so the sooner all Members complete the questionnaire, the better.  

As we meet with the Employer to negotiate a Labour Disruption Protocol, we will be preparing detailed FAQs to address the many questions arising about how a strike would impact members of the campus community. Please stand by for links to this information in the coming days. 

We are tired of our concerns being ignored and dismissed. Although none of us want a strike, our working conditions are worsening and will ultimately become unsustainable. Faculty workload burden must be eased. Western’s strategic plan proposes an increased enrolment to 50,000 by 2030. Yet the administration refuses to negotiate real solutions to this problem, even as Full-Time faculty numbers decrease and precariously employed faculty numbers grow. Student class size increases are outpacing the available space on campus, and we are all forced to do a lot more with much less. 

Every budgetary choice to not support faculty is exactly that: a choice — our Employer could instead choose to use its $1.3 billion in surplus funds to support the academic mission of our University. The pandemic has left us burnt out and overworked, while Western has accumulated larger surpluses than ever before. Western can afford to alleviate the problems that your negotiating team has raised at the table: excessive workload, unequal access to benefits, precarious employment for contract faculty.

The UWOFA bargaining team has proposed creative solutions to the weightiest challenges we face in our jobs, but too many of the answers we hear at the bargaining table are “no” or “we don’t know.” 

“No” is neither creative, nor respectful. We deserve more, and we need to show the Employer we are serious about getting it. The UWOFA Faculty Bargaining Unit has never gone on strike but we are demanding better. If the Employer continues to make choices which don’t respect or support faculty, then they will leave us no choice but to strike to defend our rights and the core mission of the University. Together we can avert a strike. Take Action now to build a more sustainable campus community for everyone.