Mount Allison faculty strike

Faculty at Mount Allison University started a legal strike on Jan. 27. (CBC)

Mount Allison University is responding to the Mount Allison Faculty Association’s calls for a special mediator to assist in negotiations in order to end the strike.

On Sunday during a news conference, Karen Grant, Mount Allison’s vice-president of academics and research, said the university would consider bringing in a mediator only if the faculty agrees to return to work immediately while talks continue.

“In our view, this is unacceptable that our students are not in class tomorrow,” she said.

“[The faculty association] has suggested special mediation. This would mean that the strike would not end, there would be no certainty of when students would be able to return to class. We feel we would have presented contract proposals that are fair and consistent with other recent university contracts.”

Grant said they're hoping to have students and faculty return to classes by Tuesday. She said students have been out of class long enough.

Loralea Michaelis said the union hasn't responded yet to Sunday’s news conference. She said they're "working through the process" and they should have something clear to announce by Monday.

“There could be an end to the strike even sooner if the employer were willing to negotiate productively with us even without a special mediator. That, so far,  has not been happening and so we have proposed a special mediator to try and break the impasse,” she said.

Michaelis said the union has provided the university with five names of possible mediators. She said MAFA is confident there will be a mediator on site this week.

The university's faculty and librarians have been on strike since Jan. 27.

On Friday, the proposal to enter into binding arbitration with striking academic staff was rejected by the union. The university renewed calls Sunday for the union to enter into binding arbitration.

The university said it proposed the creation of an arbitration board including a member appointed by the university, the Mount Allison Faculty Association and one member chosen by both parties.