By Murray KnuttilaProvost and Vice-President, AcademicOn Friday, March 11, the University will resume negotiations with CUPE 4207 (Unit 1) and with a government-appointed mediator to pursue a fair and reasonable collective agreement with the union that represents Brock teaching assistants, course coordinators, lab demonstrators and grader-markers.CUPE 4207 has declared a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 14 if a settlement has not been reached.In recent days many people on campus, but especially the students, have expressed deep concern about the impact a labour disruption would have on their studies and on the fulfillment of their academic year.As Provost, I can assure the Brock community that the University truly realizes the concern being felt by students and their families, and as we head into this weekend of negotiations, we continue to work hard to reach a fair and appropriate collective agreement that would avert a strike.These are difficult economic times in Ontario for universities and unions to be negotiating collective agreements. However, Brock has been in collective bargaining for numerous months with several unions representing our employees, and in the past month we have successfully reached three agreements with unions.Earlier today we reached a tentative agreement with CUPE 4207 (Unit 2), the union that represents ESL co-ordinators at the University.We remain hopeful that we will also achieve successful results with CUPE 4207 (Unit 1).The University understands very clearly that students want to complete — and we want them to complete — their course of study in a timely fashion. If that should be delayed by a strike, the University, with the guidance of Senate, will make every effort to ensure that that time is made up in as reasonable a way as possible.As for contingency measures in the event of a labour dispute, the FAQ pages of the University’s Collective Bargaining website contain a lot of information about how a strike could affect campus operations and services. And every day we continue to expand the volume and types of information in those FAQs.If a collective agreement is not reached this weekend and a strike seems likely, the University will communicate detailed information to the Brock community through email, Facebook, Twitter, the University website and the Brock News online.In the coming days we will be continually updating the Collective Bargaining pages as new information becomes available, and I implore members of the Brock community to monitor the site to stay abreast of developments.Get The Brock News in your email. read more