Dear Fellow UWOSA Member,
The UWOSA office has received several questions this past week regarding the Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), PSAC Local 610 in the event that there is a strike or a lock out.
The University requested a “no board report” on March 27, 2018. This means that there is an impasse at the negotiations table and the GTAs are in a strike position and the University is in a lock-out position as of 12:01 a.m. on the 13th of April.
Western University is a unionized environment and as such, the union groups on campus rely on one another, as each group enters into negotiations with the University’s Administration. To date, UWOSA has supported PSAC 610 by sending a letter to President Chakma and Board of Governors Chair, requesting a fair and equitable agreement be reached for the GTAs. The past UWOSA negotiations team has also provided advice and support to the GTAs when requested.
What this means for UWOSA Members:
In our Collective Agreement, Article 5: Strike or Lockout, specifically Article 5.04,states “Employees have the right to decline to perform the normal duties of striking or locked-out employees of the employer during a legal strike by another bargaining unit of employees of the employer or during any lock-out of another bargaining unity by the employer.”
This means that UWOSA members may be asked to perform work normally done by a Graduate Teaching Assistant, i.e., proctor an exam or grade exam papers. To support the Graduate Teaching Assistants, UWOSA asks that you decline this work, as is your right. Similarly, UWOSA requests that you do not volunteer to assist faculty members with this type of work either, in the event of a strike or a lock-out.
Further, Article 5 Strike or Lockout, specifically, 5.05 states, ”Where individuals in a labor dispute, other than those in the bargaining unit, engage in a strike and maintain picket lines, and where employees of the bargaining unit could suffer personal harm, the employer will endeavour to safeguard such employees.”
This means that UWOSA members are required to report to work, even if this means crossing a picket line. It will be the University’s responsibility to ensure that employees are safe when doing so.
Please be mindful that as collective agreements are living documents with short durations, our course of action is to stand together with the GTAs and the other unions on campus who will enter negotiations this year.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact me or one of our Executive Officers at firstname.lastname@example.org.