Volume 95, Issue 52

Tuesday, December 4, 2001
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Finding a compromise

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Finding a compromise

Untold amounts of inconvenience and frustration on behalf of many people at Western – namely students – was averted when the UWO Staff Association struck a tentative deal with Western's administration. The deal will hopefully negate a Dec. 10 strike or lockout date.

UWOSA is comprised of technical support staff, library assistants and research technicians. Basically, they're the people who help you find books at the last minute and limit your wait in the Registrar's line to just shy of an eon.

The fallout from such a strike could have been devastating.

Imagine the debacle that would have ensued with a new semester around the corner and fourth-year students fighting to get the proper transcripts for graduate studies applications. If the wait for such services is immense now, it would be frightening to contemplate the ramifications of a staff strike or lock out.

All Western administrative processes would take on a distinct, 'do-it-yourself' theme.

Do not think for a moment the inconveniences to the student way of life would end there. Unions tend to be a lot like designated drivers – they make friends quick.

Unions ally themselves with other unions because it often serves a greater good for all employees involved. It is safe to presume UWOSA would garner the support of any number of unions willing to revoke their services in support of UWOSA's stance against the university.

The London Transit Commission, for example, announced it would back UWOSA in the event of a strike or lock out. That means those wonderful city buses we've all come to depend on would not be running routes through campus, just in time for the snowfall, as a sign of union solidarity.

Who knows what other unions would ally themselves with UWOSA and potentially deny Western students the cushy services we have grown accustomed to.

There is a definite precedent for students being hurt by strikes.

York University students have been stung by work stoppages three times in the past five years.

McMaster University and the University of Manitoba have also been hit by strikes in recent years that accomplished little – save a great deal of hassle for all involved.

A large arsenal of Tylenol to combat the immense headaches that inevitably accompany work stoppages is all students of striking schools have to show for what they've endured.

Understanding the consequences and reprecussions of a strike enables students to express their concerns to the appropriate body, instead of standing around wondering when the bus is coming.

Although there still exists the possibility of a strike or lock out if the deal is not ratified, that possibility, at this point, seems slim to none. Western students everywhere can thank their lucky stars that cooler heads prevailed on this issue, which, if dealt with improperly, could have resulted in potentially dangerous reprecussions.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001