Volume 96, Issue 67
Wednesday, January 29, 2003

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USC adopts labour dispute policy
Dust bunnies collect in living rooms everywhere

By Kelly Marcella
Gazette Staff

Amidst the ongoing contract negotiations at Western between administration and faculty, the University Students' Council is attempting to ensure students remain well informed of the proceedings.

According to section III, article five of the University Students' Council's recently adopted Statement Policies, "The USC requests full disclosure, input and consultation in any campus labour disputes that have a direct effect on the student population."

USC President Chris Sinal said the rationale behind the policy statement is to ensure the administration's current practice of disclosing information concerning labour issues remains the same.

"These [statement policies] were written well before the contract negotiations between administration and faculty reached the point they are currently at," Sinal said, noting requests for information about contract negotiations between Western administration and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association have been met by both groups.

"I think it's an entirely reasonable goal to be kept fully apprised of such situations," said Paul Handford, UWOFA president. "I would hope that no matter who's involved in labour disputes, that we're all kept well informed about the progress of negotiations."

"We make a point of trying to clarify things from our perspective," he added.

"I think we're working hard to communicate with students on a regular basis," said David Estok, director of communications and public affairs for Western.

Estok explained that, in the event of any labour dispute on campus, the university would work with the USC.

If students are asking for consultation at this point in the negotiations, it is premature, as administration still believes an agreement can be worked out with the faculty, he said.

"The biggest danger in this type of contract negotiation is misinformation," Sinal said, noting misinformation could add pressure to negotiations. "Should a labour dispute actually develop, we're requesting that the USC be involved in helping maintain the proper function of the university."

The USC, UWOFA and administration all acknowledged a good working relationship has kept students informed of the current situation.

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2002 THE GAZETTE