O-week becomes issue again
UWOFA may strike
Ancillary fees get the big chill
Shinerama fund-raising threatened by the Safe Streets Act
U of T sit-in comes to an end
Campus break out of break-ins
Caught on campus
UWOFA may strike
By Paul-Mark Rendon
With over three years since their last salary settlement, Western faculty members are starting to wonder whether or not they are waiting in vain.
The University of Western Ontario's Faculty Association, still in the process of hammering out its first contract with university administrators, was hopeful they could sign on the dotted line before the academic year finished, said UWOFA president Ernie Redekop.
Now that more than 30 months have passed since the bargaining began, Redekop said he felt a significant number of faculty members were becoming impatient with the slow pace of the talks.
Although he could not cite a potential date on which the two sides would come to terms, Redekop said he was confident the negotiations would finish sooner, rather than later. "I'm not pessimistic about this," he said.
The association was briefed at a confidential UWOFA general meeting last week, Redekop added.
Bernd Frohmann, a professor in the faculty of information and media studies, said he felt the slow pace has irked some faculty members so much, they were contemplating possible strike action. "I hope it will not come to [a strike]. I hope we can find some common ground," he said.
Frohmann said the current issues being tackled in the negotiations, salary and intellectual property, were two which had faculty members most concerned. "You hear endless drivel about excellence from this university's administration. This university can't deliver a quality education if they don't pay people enough to keep them here."
He explained although he was against a strike, the possibility of a work stoppage had been heightened due to the slow pace of negotiations. "People might be more receptive to that option," he said.
Redekop said although the association had outlined a plan of action which made room for a possible strike, they insisted on talking it out. "We have not discussed strike action in the executive at all," he said. "A strike would indeed be a last option that we would want to avoid."
Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, agreed a strike would not be in anyone's best interest. "I don't think that either side underestimates how undesirable it would be to get to that point," he said.
Any future strike action, if taken, could backfire on the faculty association, Frohmann said. "If it does get to that point, the public generally blames the people they are in the most contact with," he said.