UNB faculty vote to accept tentative collective agreement

University of New Brunswick faculty have voted to accept a tentative collective agreement with the administration, reached last week.

90 per cent of those who cast ballot voted in favour, says union

University of New Brunswick faculty have voted to accept a tentative collective agreement with the administration that was reached last week.

Ninety per cent of the professors, teaching staff and librarians who cast a ballot voted in favour, according to a statement issued by the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers on Thursday night.

It does not indicate how many faculty members voted. The vote was held on Wednesday and Thursday, with polls closing at 4 p.m.

The next step is ratification by the board of governors, the statement said. Then, within the next six months, the parties will enter into a limited arbitration process on outstanding issues.

The agreement calls for salary increases of 2.5 per cent in the first two years of the contract, with any increase in the third year to be determined through arbitration, union president Miriam Jones has said.

The two sides reached a tentative agreement on Jan. 30 after two days of talks with a provincially-appointed mediator.

About 550 faculty members walked off the job on Jan. 13 over wages and working conditions.

The Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers had been seeking an increase of more than 23 per cent over four years in order to bring salaries in line with those at Canadian universities of comparable size.

The university was offering a 9.5 per cent increase over the same period.

The parties were ordered back to the bargaining table by the Alward government.

Classes resumed on Feb. 3.

Meanwhile, the UNB senate is expected to vote on Friday on whether to cancel the university's March break and extend classes until April 17 to make up for lost class time due to the strike.

Under the proposed changes, students would end up missing only four days of classes and the summer term would begin as scheduled.

A student petition to keep March Reading Week is expected to be submitted for the senate's consideration.

Compressing the schedule would cause problems for a lot of students, according to the student union president.

Some students have non-refundable trips planned, some have job interviews booked and others have to work, said Ben Whitney.

The student council is also seeking a rebate on tuition for the time missed.

The senate meeting is scheduled to be held from 9 a.m. until noon and will be open to the public.