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CAUT Bulletin Archives

December 2006

Western Faculty Vote to Strike

Academic staff at the University of Western Ontario have voted overwhelmingly to strike as contract negotiations with university officials continue.

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association’s contract expired June 30, 2006.

“Our members have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of progress in the talks to renew the collective agreement,” said Kim Clark, president of the union representing 1,500 full and part-time faculty members at Western.

Eighty-eight per cent of the union members balloted last month voted in favour of strike action.

Clark said after 44 meetings between university and union negotiators, the parties called for a conciliator.

“While we’ve reached agreement on some issues, we’re still far apart on major items,” she said.

In the negotiations, benefits (particularly benefits for those who continue to work after age 65), salaries (particularly catch up and inadequate career progress), workload, faculty renewal and status of contract academic staff have been major sticking points. UWOFA also has resisted efforts by the university to implement a system requiring members to self-report annually on objectives for the coming year.

Five conciliation meetings are scheduled over the coming weeks, “with the understanding that neither party will call for a no-board report until those meetings have taken place,” Clark said.

“On Nov. 30, the UWOFA board reaffirmed its strong commitment to attempting to reach an acceptable agreement through conciliation,” she added. “At the same time, given the degree of advance preparation required, we’re making preliminary preparations for a strike.”

The union said it would strike on Feb. 5 unless the two sides come to terms first.