On Jan. 6, a tentative agreement was reached between Wilfrid Laurier University and the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association.On Dec. 14, both parties participated in a day of conciliation with the help of conciliator, Greg Long. Later on, two additional concilia.tion dates were scheduled for Jan. 5 and 6, as said on the university’s official website. Conciliation was announced by the university and WLUFA on Nov. 7, a process by which a union can ask the Ministry of Labour for help in resolving their differences in order to reach an agreement. Before the agreement was reached, WLUFA held an event to raise awareness about their mission and the possibility of a strike, should it be necessary. This was held at their strike headquarters on 65 University Avenue. The headquarters was meant to provide resources and raise awareness about a potential job action, if necessary. MPP of Kitchener-Waterloo Catherine Fife and MPP of London-West Peggy Sattler were also in attendance.
“The only real power the contract faculty [has] is to threaten to withdraw our services. Having a very strong strike mandate, showing that we were prepared and organized [and] having two members of provincial parliament is heartening for our members,” said Michele Kramer, president of WLUFA. While the tentative agreement has been reached, the information is yet to be disclosed to the public.
“Both of the parties, the administration and the union agree not to divulge the agreement until the agreement has been ratified by both parties,” Kramer said.
Kramer explained that WLUFA is currently in the midst of putting together meetings for their members in order to present the agreement.
“We have to allow them to vote on ratifying the agreement,” Kramer said. “On Wednesday, we will take the tentative agreement to our executives and explain the agreements to our [executives] and say, ‘are you okay with taking this agreement to the members?’ The [executives] will give an okay and once the [executives] say it’s okay. The [executives] will recommend yes or no on the agreement.”
After this process is complete, Kramer said they hope to have a ratification meeting by the end of this week, which will give members the opportunity to vote on the agreement by the end of next week. When speaking on the agreement itself, Kramer explained that it is all about balance between both the administration’s ideal scenario and WLUFA’s preferred result of the agreement.
“Ultimately, you know you reached a point where you can agree on things when everyone’s a little bit happy with what they’ve got and everyone’s a little bit unhappy with what they’ve got. That usually means we’ve struck a balance with the employer and the Union.”
On Jan. 6, the university released a statement on their official website announcing they had reached a tentative deal for a new collective agreement with Contract Academic Staff.The statement read: “The agreement must be ratified by the University’s Board of Governors and CAS members, who are represented by the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA). The tentative agreement is retroactive to Sept. 1, 2016.”
The Cord reached out to the university for comment but did not receive a response.