Lakehead University administration announced April 24 that the school would shut down for four days in December, citing fiscal challenges. All non-essential employees will be prohibited from going into the university and “will not be paid,” Lakehead said in a statement.
“The unilateral directive issued by the administration is completely unnecessary and shows an unfortunate willingness to squander goodwill and opt for divisive and confrontational methods to deal with financial issues,” said Lakehead University Faculty Association executive committee member Jerry Phillips in a letter issued to faculty.
The letter adds that the unpaid leave imposed on employees obscures “the real source of the university’s financial troubles which do not pertain to salaries, but rather result from what many of our members perceive to be questionable financial decisions on the part of the university administration.” The letter noted six administrative decisions as contributing factors for the university’s unsound financial footing.
Learning of the news during CAUT Council, delegates unanimously voted to condemn Lakehead’s actions in threatening “the integrity of collective bargaining.” Delegates also voted on other resolutions calling on the university administration to reverse its action, and in the event of “no action” authorizing “CAUT to do everything in its power to assist the Lakehead University Faculty Association in stopping the administrators’ plan, through whatever means necessary.”
“Rarely have I seen Council delegates so outraged,” said CAUT executive director James Turk. “The Lakehead administration has violated the terms of the collective agreement and CAUT intends put all its resources behind LUFA’s efforts to stop this attack on its members.”