University reaches tentative deal with full-time faculty

At approximately 3:00 am Friday morning, Wilfrid Laurier University reached a tentative deal with the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA), the union that represents the full-time faculty.

According to Kevin Crowley, director of communications at Laurier, the agreement must be ratified by the university’s Board of Governors and members of WLUFA. This decision comes one day shy of the legal strike date of the union — if they chose to go on strike or if the administration decided to lockout— and after two full days of collective bargaining with the assistance of a provincial mediator.

“Just a lot of hard work, they went to about 3 o’clock in the morning and it was back and forth,” explained Crowley. “There was a willingness on both sides to keep talking and they were looking to get it done by midnight and it didn’t look like it was going to happen by midnight, so they decided to just stick to it and a lot of back and forth on proposals fine tuning them and so on.”

Any immediate disruption of full-time academic activity appears to have been avoided with the deal reached early Friday morning. However, Crowley said that both the university’s board of governors and WLUFA’s membership have to vote to support the decision.

“You never know until it’s ratified, but at this point you got the two bargaining teams supporting the tentative agreement and then explaining it to their sides and requesting their sides to support it,” he added.

WLUFA president Judy Bates made an announcement on the association’s website. “I am delighted to announce that WLUFA reached a tentative settlement with the employer at 3:00 am this morning,” she wrote.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the team for their very hard work on your behalf,” she said to her membership.

While there is still work to be done, Crowley asserted that typically when tentative agreements are reached, ratification usually occurs a week or two afterwards.

“We think within in two weeks, if not sooner. It’s business as usual until those votes take place,” he said.

This story is developing. Stay tuned to and follow @cordnews for updates.

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