Dear Fellow UWOSA Member,
UWOSA learned early this morning that negotiations have failed at the bargaining table for our brother union, IUOE. Western’s Operating Engineers are on strike as of 12:01 a.m. today, October 12, 2023. Our brothers and sisters in IUOE are essential to the safe running of heating, ventilation and AC systems and utilities across the University.
They are fighting for fair compensation to help attract and retain qualified engineers, but Western Administration is unwilling to offer a fair market adjustment, despite the IUOE opting not to pursue other financial gains during this round of bargaining, for examples in the benefits package.
What is a strike? Strikes are often a last resort if progress is not being made during negotiations. Strikes are an important tool and a recognized right for unions.
What is a lockout? A lockout occurs when, during negotiations, the Employer refuses to allow its employees to work in order to force a settlement. In this instance, Western Administration may refuse to allow striking union members on to Western’s campus, park in Western parking lots, or have access to their Western emails.
How Can UWOSA support IUOE:
Walk the Picket Line: Walking the picket line is voluntary. If you have time during your ten-minute break or lunch break, before work or after work, you have the option to join the picket lines. Please check in with an IUOE picket line captain if you choose to participate.
Do not perform Engineering Work: As per Article 5.04 in our collective agreement, you have the right to decline performing IUOE work. 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 unit by the employer.”
Reporting to Work: During a strike, Article 5: Strike or Lockout, specifically Article 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 endeavor to safeguard such employees.”
This means we, as 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 crossing the picket line.
Crossing a picket line: When passing by or crossing picket lines, please be respectful and courteous to IUOE members. Please avoid arguments or confrontations of why you are crossing, you may simply state that in the UWOSA collective agreement, you are required to report to work.
Driving to Campus: Please allow yourself extra time to get to campus, and time to cross the picket line. If you are driving a vehicle, please be respectful to those picketing at the crosswalks and at the corners of the entrances to Western University.
London Transit: Please note that city buses will not enter campus during a strike or lockout. LTC will reroute so as not to cross picket lines and may instead stop on Richmond Street / Western Road instead.
If you are told by a supervisor to go home after reporting to work, please contact the UWOSA office at email@example.com before leaving campus.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact me, or one of our Executive Officers, at firstname.lastname@example.org.