Live updates of a potential strike by Western faculty will be shared here as they happen.
Western and UWOFA have a reached a tentative agreement in their ongoing labour negotiations.
In a bulletin shared early Friday morning, the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association indicated that after 25 bargaining sessions with Western University administration, a collective bargaining agreement was obtained. In a similar notice, Western advised students that a deal was reached and campus services would continue as normal.
Terms of the agreement will not be disclosed publicly until the deal is ratified by faculty.
A date has not been set for ratification.
Western and UWOFA reach tentative agreement
Nov. 9, 2:32 a.m.
The negotiating parties have reached a tentative agreement in their ongoing labour negotiations.
Both Western and UWOFA shared notices indicating an agreement to their respective websites early Friday morning, as well as shared the news through tweets.
Classes and campus services will continue Friday as normal.
UWOFA posts photos of pro-union images on University College, Middlesex College
Nov. 9, 12:24 a.m.
Late Friday night, UWOFA tweeted photos of projections spread over the iconic campus buildings bearing their logo and pro-union messaging.
A Campus Police officer who visited the scene later that night said the projections were no longer there.
Western emails seek to clarify strike details
Nov. 8, 7:37 p.m.
Andrew Hrymak, Western provost, sent an email to the Western community providing information on potential disruptions to campus activities in case of a strike. A similar email was also sent by Chris Alleyne, associate vice-president of housing, to residence staff and sophs.
The emails included a list of activities that will be cancelled if a strike occurs, such as classes, mid-terms and faculty supervision of graduate students. Certain activities will continue as usual, such as classes at affiliate university colleges and dining services.
Further, the emails explained free additional services will be provided, such as studying, recreational, professional development and social programs. Details on these activities will become available at www.studentexperience.uwo.ca.
Increased mental health services will also be provided for students potentially experiencing academic uncertainty in the presence of a strike.
The university has set up a special email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and a phone line (519.661.2111 x85029) to answer student questions. If a strike takes place, the university will provide a 72 hours’ notice before the resumption of classes.
Western addresses students as bargaining clock nears midnight
Nov. 8, 6:58 p.m.
Western communications official Helen Connell said in an interview today the administration believes they can reconcile with UWOFA before the deadline — seven hours from when the interview took place around 5:30 p.m.
“The two negotiation teams are still meeting and we are remaining cautiously optimistic that we can reach a settlement some time before the deadline,” stated Helen Connell, Western’s associate vice-president of communications and public affairs.
Connell recommends that students check Western’s student experience website, where they can view alternative programming and seek support, as well as ask questions they may have.
“We are trying, and we believe that the union is also trying, to reach an agreement that will avoid a disruption. We understand how important it is for them to have this settled,” said Connell.
Information picketing for UWOFA taking place on campus
Nov. 8, 5:25 p.m.
Community members are handing out flyers in support of UWOFA at multiple locations around campus.
The second picketing session of the day is ongoing until 5:30 p.m. at the bus stops at the Alumni Hall roundabout. The first session took place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the bus stop in front of the Natural Sciences Centre.
Members of PSAC local 610, the union of teaching assistants and postdoctoral students at Western University, are currently picketing at the Alumni Hall bus stops alongside several Western professors.
“I’m the representative of a union, so I feel like I should be standing in solidarity with my fellow unionized brothers and sisters, and I really believe in what they’re fighting for,” said Katelyn Mitri, the president of PSAC local 610.
“Job security is so important especially for someone who is in their PhD and wants to go into academia one day,” she added. “I want my profs to be secure, but I also want a future for myself in this sector of work.”
The professors on site did not provide further comments.
Inside UWOFA's off-campus strike HQ
Nov. 8, 1:49 p.m.
UWOFA is relocating their offices off-campus to a former walk-in clinic inside an abandoned Rexall. The Gazette was allowed inside to take photographs but could not conduct any interviews.
With a “Medicentres” sign above the door, only a handful of people were inside the new union space at around 1 p.m. Thursday. Inside were piles of UWOFA t-shirts, multi-packs of potato chips, flags and “I Love Western Librarians & Archivists” signs. The office opens to the hollowed-out pharmacy, the old centrepiece of a strip mall at Wonderland Road and Oxford Street.
UWOFA’s usual offices are in Elborn College, an on-campus site the union would avoid if they strike.
“We will be negotiating to the wire,” says UWOFA president
Nov. 8, 1:33 p.m.
In an interview between bargaining sessions, UWOFA president Dan Belliveau stated, “We are in a situation where we will be negotiating to the wire.”
“Both sides are at the table. We continue to work very hard to reach a deal,” he continued.
“I think we remain committed to finding a deal,” said Belliveau when asked if UWOFA maintained its position from three days ago of being “cautiously optimistic.”
In response to the installation of picket-line porta-potties, Belliveau outlined that these are normal preparations — akin to a strike vote or calling a "No-Board" report. He disputed Johnson’s Sanitation Service’s claim that UWOFA said they were for an immediate strike.
Bargaining continues today.
LTC releases detours of major routes to accommodate potential picket-lines
Nov. 8, 11:07 a.m.
The London Transit Commission will detour several of their biggest lines to avoid crossing potential picket lines that UWOFA could form on campus if they strike.
They detailed route changes on their website Thursday for the 2, 6, 9c, 10, 13, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 102 and 106 buses. While many routes would turn around inside campus, they are now travelling up to the juncture of Western and Richmond to loop around.
These detours would layer on top of existing changes to campus bus traffic following the recent closure of the University Drive bridge: while some of those routes rerouted down into campus from University Hospital, instead of crossing over the river, the LTC “will not be serving” the hospital if a strike occurs.
A map for the 2, 6, 9c, 13, 102 and 106 will be posted soon.
UWOFA says Western wanted faculty benefits lower but salaries higher in yesterday's negotiations
Nov. 7, 3:04 p.m.
In yesterday's negotiations Western asked UWOFA to roll-back their health benefits requests but offered a salary increase, according to a UWOFA bargaining update posted today.
They do not specify what the salary offer was, but they say it would not “begin to close the wage gap that exists between Western and its comparator institutions...in fact it will only widen that gap over the period of the contract.”
They say benefit cuts had not been proposed in previous negotiations.
In disappointment, UWOFA reiterates a position they have expressed before, that they believe Western’s finances are “extremely strong” and can afford to meet UWOFA’s asks.
UWOFA sets up porta-potties to be used from picket-lines
Nov. 7, 1:40 p.m.
UWOFA contacted a sanitation services company to ask for porta-potties that would be available from the picket lines.
Johnson’s Sanitation Service said they were told to deliver a dozen stalls onto campus, and that UWOFA told them a strike was happening Thursday.
"We were contacted by the faculty association to deliver a bunch of toilettes today, 12 in total, and distribute them around the campus for the potential strike starting tomorrow," said Beverly Johnson-Lamoureux, general manager.
The current earliest date UWOFA could strike is Friday.
At least four of the stalls are along Western road, meaning UWOFA could picket there. The current picketing locations are unclear.
Faculty given strike preparedness survey
Nov. 7, 1:18 p.m.
A strike preparedness survey sent out to faculty in the Nov. 6 email outlines etiquette for the strike should it occur.
According to the email, there will be no access to offices, computers or other teaching equipment. It is unknown whether professors will have access to their UWO emails.
In regard to strike pay, the survey said, “you will earn a strike pay by participating in a range of duties, most commonly picketing.”
Faculty members will earn $125 per day tax free, seven days a week starting on the fourth day of the strike. Members will picket in shifts for around two hours per day.
LTC will be rerouting and will no longer be servicing on campus routes during a strike.