St. FX faculty union to present counter-offer
400 members on strike since Jan. 28
The union representing striking faculty members at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish says it will make a counter-proposal at the bargaining table on Wednesday in response to a fresh offer from the university administration.
"We're sending the team back," said Peter McInnis, the president of the St. FX Association of University Teachers.
"The strike continues and we will see whether we can get a result from these talks later today."
Union representatives will present their counter-offer at 2 p.m.
The university administration's newest position was posted Tuesday evening on the St. Francis Xavier University website, detailing the contract proposal that would be good for four years beginning July 1, 2012.
The new offer has a 1.5 per cent raise in each of the first two years, a two per cent raise in the third year and a 2.25 per cent raise in the final year.
The offer also includes adding some retirement incentives, health care and dental benefits for part-time staff, and minimum contract lengths for some instructors.
A previous proposal — which was rejected by the membership — had a 1.5 per cent raise for each of the first two years, followed by 1.75 per cent in the third year and two per cent in the fourth year.
The union had been arguing for an increase of 10 or 11 per cent over four years.
The details of the offer were sent directly to the association's members on Tuesday, which McInnis called "bargaining in bad faith" by the university.
"The association was understandably surprised that this offer was sent directly to all our members before the negotiating team had a chance to debrief the executive," he said.
"If the university would focus on negotiating with us at the bargaining table, rather than trying speaking through the media, we could find a solution to allow us to get back to teaching our students and conducting our research."
The 400 members of the St. FX Association of University Teachers — which include faculty, librarians, lab instructors and extension staff — have been on strike for a since Jan. 28. They've been without a contract for eight months.