Western dodges strike-lock­out bul­let

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - JONATHAN JUHA jjuha@post­media.com — The Lon­don Free Press

Classes and ser­vices con­tin­ued as usual Fri­day at Western Univer­sity af­ter the school reached a ten­ta­tive labour agree­ment with its fac­ulty on the eve of a po­ten­tial strike.

The deal be­tween the univer­sity and the as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing roughly 1,650 fac­ulty mem­bers was reached early Fri­day fol­low­ing “marathon” ne­go­ti­a­tions Thurs­day that con­tin­ued into the early hours of past a 12:01 a.m. strike dead­line set by the fac­ulty.

“The ten­ta­tive deal means there will be no strike. All ser­vices — in­clud­ing classes, labs, tu­to­ri­als and re­search — con­tinue as nor­mal,” Western Univer­sity an­nounced on its web­site shortly af­ter 2 a.m.

Western said the fac­ulty as­so­ci­a­tion, UWOFA, will be rec­om­mend­ing its mem­bers to rat­ify the ten­ta­tive agree­ment. A date for the rat­i­fi­ca­tion vote has yet to be an­nounced.

“I’m so proud of our ne­go­ti­at­ing team for all their hard work and re­ally thank­ful to the mem­ber­ship for their sup­port of the team,” UWOFA pres­i­dent Dan Bel­liveau said in an on­line up­date.

Terms of the agree­ment will not be dis­closed pub­licly un­til af­ter rat­i­fi­ca­tion, Western said, adding that if rat­i­fied by the fac­ulty, Western’s board of gover­nors would vote on the agree­ment at its next meet­ing in late No­vem­ber.

Western and its fac­ulty have been hag­gling over the col­lec­tive agree­ment since June.

Ma­jor is­sues in the dis­pute have been pay, as well as job se­cu­rity for con­tract and part-time fac­ulty.

In late Septem­ber the fac­ulty voted 94 per cent in favour of strike ac­tion. The over­whelm­ing vote was de­signed to give the fac­ulty ne­go­tia­tors in­creased lever­age at the bar­gain­ing ta­ble.

In Oc­to­ber, Western and its fac­ulty as­so­ci­a­tion spent three days ne­go­ti­at­ing with a me­di­a­tor from the Min­istry of Labour. The re­sult was a no-board re­port stat­ing the govern­ment will not ap­point a con­cil­i­a­tion board to set­tle the mat­ter.

MIKE HENSEN/POST­MEDIA NEWS

Porta Pot­ties are in place at all the en­trances to Western Univer­sity cam­pus, in­clud­ing the gates on Western Road, ahead of a pos­si­ble fac­ulty strike or lock­out as early as to­day.

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