More than 280 faculty members at the University of Ontario Tech are saying they will go on strike until a compromise is reached.
The members of the University of Ontario’s Faculty of Technology (UOITFA) went on strike after nine months and nearly 30 meetings at the negotiating table. Speeches have been disrupted in recent weeks.
“We have gone through two rounds of mediation with the university and we cannot continue to pursue some of the most important priorities established by our members,” said Mike Eklund, the faculty’s chief negotiator.
“It’s a huge workload … Our members are treated as undergraduate and postgraduate students and regardless of the members’ choice of supply situation and many other factors related to workload.”
Eklund Other issues include benefits and pension benefits for all members.
He told CBC News:
Eklund says reducing class sizes is an idea on the table.
UOITFA Acting President Kimberley Nujent said this was the first strike in the university’s history and that his concerns were not new.
“Our workload concerns before the outbreak, COVID-19 only aggravated them,” Nujent told CBC News.
Bill 124, a state law that prohibits talking about extra money for some government sector employees, says the faculty is focused on “unseen and unsustainable work.”
“The university is unwilling to solve our work-related problems… and we are looking at the current agreement and we are asking them to resolve some of our most pressing issues,” Nujent said.
‘We Are Very Sad’
“One day is too long,” Nujent said, adding that she would soon reach an agreement.
“We did not want to leave here, we are very sad,” she said.
“I had to teach today. I miss my students. I want to be in class. I hope it won’t be long but we are here.”
In the meantime, the IAAFA said it hopes the university will return to the negotiating table soon and find a solution.
“No one wants to go on a long strike,” he said.
The strike is hurting students like Patel, two professors on Thursday.
“There is a need for mutual understanding between them [both sides]Said Patel.
A difficult time for the campus community
UOITFA said they were ready to negotiate today, but the university was not.
However, the university’s registrar Joe Stox said, “The university is ready to meet with the teachers’ union as soon as it is ready.”
“We care about our students and teachers and we care about the entire campus community and we want to reach an agreement,” he told CBC News.
Stokes acknowledged that negotiations had been going on for “several months”, but said the university had “negotiated sincerely with the teachers’ union”.
He said the university was doing its best to contact students when new information was available and was “committed to completing their term.”