St. Jerome's, professors still in labour negotiations

  • August 12, 2010
St. Jerome's University logoAs hints of back-to-school begin to drift into academic consciousness, professors and administrators at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ont., are still in labour negotiations.

The SJU Academic Staff Association was certified as a union by the Ontario Labour Relations Board April 24. The professors said they needed the legal protection of a labour contract in light of changes in how the Catholic college at the University of Waterloo is governed.

“Negotiations are underway, but proceeding slowly,” staff association president David Seljak told The Catholic Register in an e-mail.

Negotiations began even before the staff association was certified as a legal bargaining unit. There were six meetings between Feb. 5 and April 26.

Through a spokesperson, SJU president Fr. David Perrin told The Catholic Register he could not comment on any aspect of the negotiations.

According to Seljak, one of the sticking points has been what kind of say the professors will have in how the college is run.

“The administration has been very reluctant to negotiate governance,” said Seljak.

“Well, too bad. Ontario law states that nothing is automatically off the table.”

Money is not the big issue, and the Ontario government’s plans for a public sector pay freeze probably won’t be a reason for failing to conclude a deal, Seljak said.

“The faculty did not unionize around the issue of compensation,” he said.

So far the professors have not set a strike deadline or made plans to hold a strike vote.

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