Western dodges strike-lockout bullet
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.
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.