UNB, Mount Allison strikes 'frustrating as the dickens'

Parents of Mount Allison University and University of New Brunswick students are waiting for news on two ongoing strikes.

Parents of students react to days of strikes at UNB and Mount Allison University

Parents of Mount Allison University and University of New Brunswick students are waiting for news on two ongoing strikes.

After 17 days on the picket line, the faculty of UNB are meeting with the administration.

In Sackville, Mount Allison University's faculty is on their third strike day.

Members of the Mount Allison Faculty Association are on strike and all classes are suspended after last-minute negotiations over the weekend failed. (Michele Brideau/Radio-Canada)

Norval McConnell, Manager of Community and Player Initiatives with the Moncton Miracles, is a former teacher, principal and school district administrator. He knows a thing or two about contract negotiations.

His son, Kyle, is a second year engineering student at UNB. McConnell said he can see both sides of the stalemate.

“I think they do feel for the students, but again there is a process to negotiate a contract and it's frustrating as the dickens sometimes and this is one of those cases,” he said.

UNB faculty want a 23 per cent increase in salaries over four years but the administration is standing firm on their 9.5 per cent offer.

“As parents, we want our kid to get the best broad opportunity, and UNB has provided that — that's why this is such a struggle for us,” said McConnell.

Bruce Harper and Kelly Francheville, who work at an elementary school in Moncton, both have sons studying at Mount Allison University.

They were both surprised when Mount Allison's faculty went on strike.

“We're looking at UNB and they're finally starting to move again [in talks], and it would be a shame if it took that long again,” said Francheville

“I'm in a union myself and I know the rights for bargaining, and I hope they can settle quick. It's a shame they had to go out, because [it’s] my son's first year. Any year, first, second, third, fourth — you're losing,” said Harper.

Francheville said students and parents are also losing out in other ways.

"It's very expensive to have a post-secondary education career. It's very concerning. Every day it is costing money and the pot's only so deep,” she said.

The faculty and administration at UNB will meet again with the provincially appointed mediator on Thursday.

As for Mount Allison, the faculty association said it’s waiting for the administration to make the next move.