A strike was avoided as the Brescia Faculty Association and the Brescia University College administration reached an agreement as part of the collective agreement, with steps towards closing the gender wage gap among professors.
Brescia ranks 21st of 22 universities in Ontario for average salary of full-time faculty, while at the same time it had the highest percentage of female faculty. The new deal brings the pay for Brescia professors roughly on-par with faculty at Western's other two university colleges — Huron and King's, according to the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association.
"The next generation of faculty hired at Brescia will not have to look to their colleagues up the road at Huron University College and ask why they are not being valued equally," said BFA President Melissa Jean in a media release.
BFA voted on a strike mandate last month and a provincially appointed conciliator was sent to Western to help BFA and the administration reach an agreement.
According to a media release by the OCUFA, over 550 letters were sent to Brescia principal and board chair urging them to take steps to improve pay equality among professors.
"We're really please with the agreement," Jean said in an interview. "We set out with the mandate to achieve equal pay for equal work and that is something that will be accomplished by the end of the agreement."
Previously, a government-appointed steering committee concluded that the gender wage gap in Ontario was unacceptable and made recommendations for the provincial government to improve the situation.
BFA members ratified the agreement on Oct. 4 before it was confirmed by the Brescia board of trustees on Oct. 12. Jean said the negotiations were made easier with the presence of the provincially-appointed conciliator.
Jean added the agreement will take four years to be fully implemented, at which time the salary of Brescia faculty will be closely aligned with Huron University College's faculty.