Thursday, September 18, 2008

Strike update: Day 02 - update 04

Administration update:
My source at the admin says that there have been no new negotiations since the strike started on Wednesday. Reports from WUFA are that the negotiations are “on-going,” but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The administration also asked WUFA if they were interested in a media blackout regarding the bargaining table. WUFA said they were uninterested in a media blackout.

I will confirm this if and when I can reach WUFA pres Brian Brown. Yesterday, no luck. Today he was talking with CBC instead.

The University of Windsor strike page, is not yet updated today.

Profile of the strike:
It’s getting noticed – and tomorrow, it’s going to get bigger.
The Brantford Expositor, The Victoria Times, The Chronicle for High Education,, The Globe and Mail, and surly more to follow - are all covering this event. The union's efforts at spreading their message are succeeding.

And the exposure is going to get a whole lot bigger by tomorrow at noon, when they have their big rally. Reports indicate that they're flying pickets in from all over the country. More to follow in this post in my interview with Dan O'Connor.

Negotiation update:
As reported in the Windsor Star yesterday:
Rumoured to be among the most contentious issues the university's desire to increase the number of teaching-only professors, something new university president Alan Wildeman addressed in a statement posted on the school's website Wednesday afternoon.

"Many universities have done this, and hired excellent teachers who contribute to the quality of education, so that faculty members heavily engaged in research and the training of graduate students have more time for those activities," Wildeman wrote.

"Nevertheless, in response to WUFA concerns about this, the university withdrew this request from the bargaining table. WUFA's negotiating team knows this."
Yet, that message doesn’t appear to have been conveyed to picketers. The earlier-mentioned video from James Winter indicates that Neil Gold himself was petitioning to have educator positions that were exclusively for teaching - freeing up space for research and training among other profs. While this was an item on the agenda, it has, as stated by the president of the university himself, been negotiated off the table. This is no longer an item for considertaion.

To recap - this item is no longer on the bargaining table, which WUFA has not returned to since talks broke off Wednesday at 2 a.m. Granted, they have been bargaining since June 3.

Neil Gold issue:
A big hiccup that occurred the other day when faculty received an email from University of Windsor Prvost Neil Gold. It was first reported in the Windsor Star.
Meanwhile University of Windsor vice-president Neil Gold sent an e-mail to professors, librarians, sessional lecturers and instructors informing them that anyone with a research grant application to be signed by a dean would require them to fill out a form declaring they are abstaining from the strike.

The e-mail was also forwarded to Brian Turk, the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, who was outraged.

"I am speechless that any university would, in a short-term dispute over a collective agreement, threaten the long-term future of the faculty and of the university by blocking new research grant applications," Turk wrote in an e-mail to Brown.

"Should the University not reverse their position today, CAUT will bring this matter before the top officials in Canada's granting councils tomorrow, will highlight for media across Canada the short-sighted and destructive position of the university, and will discuss the matter at its Executive meeting this Friday to see if it warrants bringing a motion of censure against Windsor at the upcoming CAUT Council meeting."
The documents are here for you to evaluate yourself. And I have attached some pictures of them I took earlier today at the Great Lakes Institute of Environmental Research (GLIER).

Here are two of the pages of the Gold email, the third page was a “Notification of Intention to Continue All Normal Duties In the Event of a WUFA strike” form. Decide for yourself if this is would leave you "speechless."

Basically, it’s not business as usual during a strike – and if you want to continue to do business, you have to report to your dean, and obviously, you’d have to cross picket lines. The memo seems to outline all of the consequences of going on strike, and how to cross the picket line should you want to.

As for CAUF, you can learn more about who they are at their homepage. To quote:
Windsor goes on strike

The University of Windsor Faculty Association (WUFA) went on strike on September 17, 2008, after a breakdown in bargaining. Key issues include salary, teaching only positions, working conditions for sessionals and employment equity.

Expressions of solidarity and support can be sent to WUFA, 366 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4. Their email address is Additional information is available on WUFA's web site.
That address may get mail, even though Canada Post refuses to cross the picket lines. If that is the address of WUFA's headquarters, The Kerr House, Canada Post should still be able to deliver mail without crossing any picket lines.

Members of other unions on campus show their support on the steps of the Kerr House, the home base for the WUFA.

Overview and CAUT Profile: Founded in 1951, CAUT is the national voice for academic staff. Today, representing 65,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals and general staff, CAUT is an outspoken defender of academic freedom and works actively in the public interest to improve the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada. CAUT has always counted notable figures among its members. Former CAUT presidents and activists include past Supreme Court Chief Justice Bora Laskin, MPs Pauline Jewett and Howard McCurdy, and Manitoba Premier Howard Pawley.


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