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LU faculty demand financial data, threaten bargaining in bad faith complaint

If future viability of university is at stake, Laurentian should be transparent, says LUFA
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Professors and librarians at Laurentian University are calling on the university administration to end bargaining delays, return to the table, and negotiate an agreement that preserves vital programs for students, protects good jobs, and restores stability to the Laurentian community.

The Laurentian University Faculty Association said in a press release that administration has made it impossible to bargain productively. 

Despite previous claims that severe budget cuts would be required to save Laurentian programs, the administration has spent months repeatedly refusing to provide any data that backs up this assertion and helps chart a path forward, the press release said.

Almost 600 professors and librarians at Laurentian University have been without a contract since July 1, 2020. Negotiations have been ongoing for almost a year.

Professors and librarians at Laurentian are tired of the administration’s ongoing efforts to delay bargaining and their continual threats of cuts, said the press release. 

The membership of the Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA) unanimously adopted a motion demanding the administration cease their delays, provide this important financial data, and bargain in good faith to reach a fair agreement. 

In the event the administration does not provide the required documentation by end-of-day on Friday, Jan. 29, the union will file a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board that the administration is bargaining in bad faith.

“The university administration has failed to provide evidence of the financial crisis it continues to claim is imminent,” said Fabrice Colin, President of LUFA, said in the press release. 

“In fact, the university has saved nearly $10 million dollars since 2018, as a result of cuts to faculty positions. If the future viability of Laurentian is at stake, it is incumbent on this administration to be transparent, show us the data, and sit down to negotiate a fair agreement that secures the future health of the university.”

The LUFA bargaining team has been very clear that if the administration can demonstrate that the long-term viability of Laurentian is in jeopardy, they would bring this information to the membership to discuss a reasonable path forward.

It is time for the Laurentian University administration to return to the bargaining table, open their books, and work with the university’s faculty and librarians to chart a path forward that preserves vital programs for students, protects good jobs, and restores good governance and stability to the Laurentian community, the press release said.