Ontario Tech strike deadline looms

Faculty at Ontario Tech have presented an ultimatum to the university – solve our labour issues or professors will go on strike Jan. 31.

Over the last eight months the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association (UOITFA) and Ontario Tech University have been in negotiations in an attempt to address some of the major concerns of faculty.

Kimberly Nugent, UOITFA president, said at a news conference Wednesday, “today I am here to confirm that after more than 20 bargaining sessions over the last eight months the UOIT Faculty Association, which represents close to 300 full-time faculty and Ontario Tech University is just over one week away from a potential strike.”

Nugent said the main issues are equity, job security, education quality, and workload challenges that predate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chronicle contacted Ontario Tech which offered no comment but directed us to the school’s labour relations page that was last updated Jan. 12. with the following:

“The university is disappointed by this latest approach deployed by the Faculty Association bargaining team.” The full document is here: https://hr.ontariotechu.ca/labour-relations/index.php

At the news conference, Nugent said “Ontario Tech administration is threatening faculty job security by proposing new layoff language. The faculty deserves respect, not precarious jobs, we are experiencing burnout, and the deterioration of work-life balance as a result this pandemic has exposed and intensified the numerous challenges we all face everyday.

“We are tired,” said Nugent.

A provincially-appointed conciliator will meet for a final attempt to negotiate during the last week of January.

“The legal strike date for the Faculty Association is Monday, Jan. 31. The university remains committed to negotiating an agreement prior to this date,” an Ontario Tech spokesperson told the Chronicle in an email.