Monday, October 26, 2009

Strike, a possibility

London, ON - Unionized librarians and archivists at the University of Western Ontario have voted overwhelmingly to support strike action to back their bargaining goals of fair evaluations, job security and equitable salaries and benefits.

A total of 88% of UWOFA-LA members voted in favour of authorizing their union to call a strike.

Who we are.

• We are the 54 professional information specialists at Western who help graduate and undergraduate students and faculty find the information they need for their research and courses.

Librarians and Archivists are highly trained professionals: Librarians have at least a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science, and Archivists have at least a Master’s Degree with a specialization in archival studies. Many have additional Master’s degrees in other fields or hold teaching certificates as well. Ours are highly regarded professions. Western is one of two universities in Ontario and seven in Canada that offer a Library and Information Science Master’s Degree while three Canadian universities offer a Master’s Degree with a specialization in archival studies.

What are we asking for?

• We're committed to ensuring that students and faculty continue to have access to the quality information and resources they need from a world-class research library system. That means we need to be treated with respect – respect for our profession and the important contribution Librarians and Archivists make to ensuring Western maintains its status as a top notch research-intensive institution that London and Canada can be proud of. What we don’t want is a “big box” library system where our job security is compromised and our professions and expertise are devalued.

• Western’s administration is proposing what we see as an arbitrary approach to evaluating our work – we want a fair approach using transparent criteria applied evenly to all Librarians and Archivists.

• The administration also wants what we see as an arbitrary approach to reassignment – they want to be able to reassign us, without notice, from one library to another, or face termination. This would be like ordering someone with years of experience working in a biology lab to relocate to the economics department or lose their job. This approach would ignore the expertise we have, and eliminate our job security.

• Librarians and archivists at Western rank 91st out of 113 research libraries in North America when it comes to salaries and benefits. We deserve parity with our colleagues across Canada so that Western can continue to retain and attract the professional expertise essential to any world-class university.


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