Western, UWOFA issue joint statement re: proposed Brescia integration

Western University and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) have released the following joint statement:

Earlier this year, Brescia University College approached Western about financial difficulties it was facing and proposed an integration. In September, Western entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Brescia regarding integration. In light of the sensitivity around the livelihoods of Brescia faculty and staff, Western entered into this non-binding agreement without advance notice to or consultation with the Senate or with UWOFA, the exclusive bargaining agent for Western’s faculty members and librarians and archivists.

While entering into the Memorandum was motivated by good intentions towards Brescia, upon reflection, Western should have meaningfully consulted earlier with UWOFA as the exclusive bargaining agent for Western’s faculty members and librarians.

Western apologizes that its approach with UWOFA did not reflect our shared values including our commitment to collegial governance and acknowledges that this has caused undue strain in its important relationship with UWOFA.

Western is committed to regular and meaningful consultation with UWOFA regarding faculty and librarian-related integration issues moving forward and to abiding by its responsibilities and obligations under the Collective Agreements.

Since UWOFA appropriately raised these concerns, Western and UWOFA have been working diligently, with the assistance of a mediator, and are now in a position to update the university community that they have reached a resolution.

UWOFA and UWOFA-LA will continue to be vigilant in maintaining the integrity of the Collective Agreements’ processes in academic hiring. At the same time, UWOFA recognizes that the exceptional circumstances facing Brescia faculty warranted some compromise and solidarity for the greater good of faculty and librarian colleagues.

The parties’ agreement includes:

  • UWOFA and UWOFA-LA Members will continue to enjoy all existing rights and entitlements;
  • Full-time Brescia faculty and librarians who opt to join Western will be integrated into Western;
  • Priorities are established regarding assignment of contract teaching;
  • The parties will immediately create a Joint Working Group that will meet regularly to address faculty, librarian and archivist integration issues;
  • Western has committed to creating 20 new full-time faculty positions over the next 4 years; and
  • Western has committed to creating 1 new Librarian position and 1 new Archivist position within 90 days of a binding integration agreement and governance approval.

The resolution paves a path for integration of Brescia faculty, librarians, students and programs into Western. The parties are pleased to have been able to reach this outcome.