In an email statement from the University of Ottawa this evening, it was confirmed that the support staff at the university, represented by the union called Support Staff University of Ottawa-Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation (SSUO-OSSTF) would be going on strike unless the two parties could come to an agreement over the collective agreement.
In a separate email circulated by the university earlier in the week, they indicated that approximately 1300 staff at the university were represented by this union. The email stated that they recognize and “value these employees as they play a critical role” in the academic environment that the students receive. The email statement also mentioned that negotiations had been on-going between the university and the bargaining unit for the past 19 months, but they were still not able to reach an agreement that satisfied both parties.
Since the most recent announcement this evening, individual faculties have reached out to their students to reassure them that efforts are being made to provide smooth and uninterrupted learning experience for them. However, the statement from the faculty of Nursing elaborated on potential disruptions that could be expected. They alerted students on possible disruption of services provided by “the academic office, IT support personnel, and some services within central administration.” However, the faculty explained that most managers, professors and instructors should be able to carry on delivering lessons without interruption. The message is less clear when it comes to managing and delivering laboratory instruction and clinical placements. The Faculty of Nursing reports that the team of laboratory facilitators were a combination of union and non-union members, and so there was less clarity about consistent, interrupted delivery in those areas.
The Union wrote on their website that a “final offer” was made by the university to the Union on Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 5:30pm. However, this offer, according to the message on their website, was allegedly “not significantly different” from their previous offer, which members of the union had already rejected in June 2020. The website also indicates that no follow-up dates for further bargaining have been scheduled at the time of posting. The union will be hosting a Town Hall to inform members of why a strike is important at this time, how physical and virtual picketing will take place, financial support from the union for members in the form of strike pay, continuation of benefits, pension protections, etc among other topics.
MTN has reached out to the University of Ottawa as well as the SSUO-OSSTF for comments. This article will be updated.