UOITFA requests “no board”: Ontario Tech faculty move closer to striking as university resists investing in quality education

OSHAWA, January 11, 2022—After seven months of negotiations, the union representing full-time faculty at Ontario Tech University has requested a “no-board” notice from the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development; once issued, the countdown toward a potential strike will begin. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association (UOITFA) is disappointed bargaining has reached this point, however, the Ontario Tech administration has been unwilling to meaningfully address growing concerns around workload, education quality, equity, and job security at the university.

“Concerns about workload and education quality at Ontario Tech predate the pandemic but have increased substantially over the past two years,” said Kimberly Nugent, Past President of the UOITFA. “With the disturbing revelation that the university now has the second highest student-to-faculty ratio in Canada, it’s no wonder that our members are experiencing burnout due to unmanageable workloads and a lack of support from the administration. Something must be done.”

Students deserve the best education possible, but that requires the university administration to follow the advice of faculty members and invest in the more classroom resources and supports. The administration must also be willing to seriously engage on issues of equity and job security, which are even more important during this pandemic.

This isn’t a question of whether the university has the money, as Ontario Tech has seen almost a decade of budget surpluses—$8 million this year alone. Yet, during this same decade, faculty working conditions have eroded as have student learning conditions. Larger classes and higher student-to-faculty ratios have meant higher faculty workloads, less time for direct one-on-one interaction between faculty and students, and less time for high-quality research. 

“Our priority has always been to try and settle these issues at the bargaining table and avoid a strike,” said Nugent. “However, if a strike is the only way to convince President Murphy and the Board of Governors that they need to take action, then we are willing to strike. That is how important these issues are to our members and our students.”

The UOITFA’s request for a “no-board” comes while the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 555 is also in conciliation, the last step before the union or employer are in the position to request a “no-board.” This is the first time that both unions—who represent the majority of Faculty, Instructors, Lecturers and Researchers at Ontario Tech—have been this close to striking at the same time.

There’s still time for the Ontario Tech administration to address faculty concerns and avoid a strike. It will mean listening to faculty and prioritizing high-quality education for students.

Make your voice heard. Send an email to Ontario Tech’s President and senior leadership team and ask them to negotiate a fair deal that prioritizes high-quality education and helps us avoid a strike at Ontario Tech: https://www.uoitfa.ca/take-action/

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association represents 280 full-time faculty at Ontario Tech University.

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For more information, contact:

Kimberly Nugent, University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association Past President

905-447-9390, president@uoitfa.ca

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