Volume 93, Issue 2

Friday, May 21, 1999


Tuition grabs attention of election platforms

Movies on the Wave's menu

First-year concerns plague dissolved council

Structural face-lift for campus bars in the works

Recent study says future looks bright for university grads

Mail-in ballot to determine negotations

Agriculture a trend out West but lags in Eastern Canada



Caught on campus

Mail-in ballot to determine negotations

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

With an agenda including a mail-in vote for over 875 members and days of lengthy contract negotiations, the University of Western Ontario's Faculty Association is preparing for what could be a long summer.

Ernie Redekop, UWOFA president, said the association is holding a mail-in ballot to decide whether or not to reconsider several proposals on appointments, promotions and tenure.

He added the results of the mail-in ballot will be returned by June 2 and depending on the outcome, may have an impact on the association's current negotiations with Western administration.

UWOFA meetings on June 14 and 22, to discuss and vote on key principles, will be contingent on the results of the mail-in ballot, Redekop said.

Psychology professor Stephen Lupker, who prompted the mail-in ballot by organizing a petition calling for the vote, said the nature of the issues called for feedback from the entire association. "I thought this was too important and too controversial. It needed an airing of the membership," he said.

"It's essentially a heads-up or heads-down on the principles," added Lupker, who said he hoped the seriousness of the issues would provoke a high voter turn-out.

Mike Dawes, UWOFA's chief negotiator, said although details of negotiations were confidential, UWOFA was making strides in finishing its first major contract agreement. "Administration is willing to proceed towards a resolution. We do see some signs of progress," Dawes said.

Still, Dawes admitted negotiators were moving forward with caution. "The discussions, while productive, have revealed some difficulties of management's position. Namely, a reluctance to relinquish control and to preserve management's prerogatives and rights," he said.

Dawes added the negotiating team was scheduled to meet with administration many times over the summer months.

By the end of May, Dawes said they will have already had 10 meetings with administration and by the end of July the two sides will have met at least 19 more times – with most of the meetings being full day affairs.

"We're dealing with every aspect of our lives," Redekop added. He said although he too would like to see a quick end to negotiations, he was not counting on a conclusion any time soon.

"Because we are involved in first contract negotiations, we need to be particular with the language in the contract," he said.

Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said he was pleased with the way the talks were being handled. "We're making real progress," he said.

Mercer added because there is no precedent for the negotiations the two sides are being patient. "The first contract is always difficult, but the atmosphere is good."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999