Volume 92, Issue 55

Wednesday, January 6, 1999



Student involvement boosted

Renovation plans fly along as cost increases

Deal for wheels on the move

Faculty union demands on cloud nine

Law leaves smokers in London with less eating room

An explosive holiday didn't pay for thieves


Caught on campus

Faculty union demands on cloud nine

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association passed six more clauses in principle in early December, slowly moving closer to forming their first contract as a union with university administration.

Aniko Varpalotai, UWOFA president, said she is happy with their progress. "I think it's going along pretty much as we've expected – we're more or less on schedule."

One of the principles passed, which attracted the most attention from the membership, involved sabbatical leaves. The sabbatical clause would make such leaves available to part-time and not just full-time faculty, as well as require professors be paid 100 per cent of their salary instead of the current 82 per cent.

"For some people the dip in their salary deters them from taking a sabbatical," Varpalotai explained. "It's still full-time work."

However, Clive Seligman, professor of psychology, said clauses such as this will not be agreed to by the administration and take credibility away from the association. "I don't know how credible they'll appear to senior administration. I'd be surprised if much of what they asked for will get anything but laughed at."

Seligman added he is aware it is not wise to go into any bargaining session with bottom line requests because it limits room for negotiation but referred to some of the things the UWOFA is asking for as "dream clauses."

Varpalotai said it is important for the association to put forward a model of the things they would like to see in a contract, even if they do not materialize after negotiations. "All of these clauses exist somewhere – it's a change from Western but it's not unrealistic I don't think," she said.

Stephen Lupker, a psychology professor, said his concern with the progress of these meetings is that the principles presented before the membership are not being prioritized. He explained there are hundreds of things which could end up in the contract with monetary implications. Administration will only have a certain amount of money to allocate, so the association must be clear on what they want most.

"I don't know how the negotiating committee will be making decisions without really knowing what the membership wants," he said. "They need to go in armed with what we really want and what we are willing to trade off."

Varpalotai said two surveys the association took over the summer and the feedback received at meetings give them a strong idea of what the membership wants. "We will do a prioritization. We are noting the discussion at meetings."

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999