Yesterday, after two months of negotiations, the FAUW negotiating team presented a final good faith offer to the UW administration, hoping to reach an agreement on compensation negotiations by the deadline of midnight, February 1. We are disappointed to report that the offer was not accepted. The final offer from the University was also unacceptable. As a result, our negotiations will continue, first going to a mediator and then, if an agreement is still not reached, to arbitration. All these proceedings are set out in section 10 of the Memorandum of Agreement.
We know you will be as disappointed as we are. So, let us explain how we got here.
We didn’t enter negotiations to maximize our pay cheques. We wanted—we believed you deserved—fairer benefits and better equity provisions. Bill 124 already restricts us to a 1% scale increase, so we worked instead, for example, to try to make it possible for lecturers teaching all three terms in a year to take their vacation entitlement. We also tried to get agreement on a cost-neutral compassionate care supplemental benefit plan, so that you can take time away from work to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care. We argued for better bereavement benefits. Currently, if your child or partner or parent were to die, the University would offer you one to four days’ paid leave of absence. This seems cruelly inadequate.
More generally, we are tired of being last in Ontario—last in vision care benefits, last in compassionate care supplemental benefits, last in paid days of bereavement leave, last in pregnancy and parental leave supplemental benefits.
We presented a fair and affordable set of requests that shows compassion and respect for members and reflects the challenging year we’ve all gone through—a year in which UW’s success has stemmed from your hard work.
We tried up until the deadline to work together with the administration to achieve the fair deal that our members deserve, and our latest offer was one that provided good outcomes for both sides. We are now proceeding to the mediation stage of the process in hope that the administration will engage more meaningfully with our proposals.
We’re disappointed, but mediation is not an unusual part of negotiations. We now have until March 1 to arrive at a settlement with the help of a mediator. If that is not successful, the next stage is arbitration. In the meantime, we will update you as new information arises, and we’ll let you know if there’s anything you can do.