Faculty association keeps movin' on
By Dave Yasvinski
The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association met yesterday to vote on two more potential clauses for their impending contract with administration.
The clauses brought before the membership dealt with day care and professional allowance. The professional allowance clause is intended to raise the level faculty members can be reimbursed for legitimate academic expenses to $1,200 per year.
Western has one of the lowest, if not the lowest professional allowance in the province, said Aniko Varpalotai, president of the UWOFA. The membership passed this clause in principle, in an attempt to raise faculty allowance to the average of other universities.
The day care clause, meant to provide the greatest day care subsidy to faculty members with the greatest need, also passed in principle.
The meeting was also used to update faculty on how negotiations with administration have been proceeding.
Mike Dawes, chief negotiator for the UWOFA, pointed out the work the negotiating unit has accomplished, including the 17 articles they have presented to administration so far, compared to the one article administration has presented to them.
"Does this mean in some sense we're winning? Well, not at all," said Dawes, to the amusement of the membership. He explained this apparent imbalance is part of the different views faculty and administration take on what can be accomplished on a step by step basis.
The association feels the clauses which will eventually form the faculty's contract can be negotiated one by one. Administration, however, feels it is not productive to come to an agreement on sub-articles until all the articles are presented, so the connection between them can be fully known. Dawes said they are optimistic all the clauses will be presented to administration by Christmas.
Although faculty members are eager to present all their clauses to administration and begin real negotiations, these proposals need to be considered carefully, warned anthropology professor Kim Clark.
"Don't rush the contract language. It's really important not to hurry to get everything on the table. We need to think very carefully about the implications of these proposals."
Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, has said that because this will be the first contract formed at Western between faculty and administration, it will take time to develop it is a new relationship.
The next UWOFA meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17.