Manitoba

One-third of U of M professors have crossed picket line, administration says, but union disagrees

Four days after the strike began, more than a third of University of Manitoba professors have crossed the picket line, administration says — but the faculty association leadership says that’s not the case.

448 of 1,216 UMFA members back at work, U of M says

Faculty members walk the picket lines at the University of Manitoba as conciliation talks continue. (CBC)

Four days after the strike began, more than a third of University of Manitoba professors have crossed the picket line, administration says — but the faculty association leadership says that's not the case.

John Kearsey, vice-president of external relations for the U of M, said 448 of the 1,216 members of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association have returned to work since the strike started on Nov. 1.

He said the administration arrived at that number based on the hundreds of professors who have filled out and submitted a form stating they intend to return to normal duties.

But Mark Hudson, president of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA), said that information is questionable.

"I actually can't confirm those numbers," Hudson said Friday.

"I can say that from our point (of view) that's an unreliable number."

Hudson said members have reached out to UMFA leadership saying they've been incorrectly listed as back at work while on strike.

"Our pickets are strong and getting stronger every day," Hudson said.

Talks ongoing

Talks between the two parties have been ongoing since Wednesday with the help of a provincially-appointed conciliator.

Kearsey said he's more disappointed than surprised at the lack of a resolution.

"I continue to be disappointed that UMFA leadership has decided to take this strike action and cause a disruption to our 30,000 students at the university," Kearsey said.

He said the school has heard from students that they're feeling anxiety and stress over the disruption to classes. While many classes taught by non-UMFA members continue to be offered, many have been cancelled due to the strike.

"Students want to get back in class, students are telling us that they want us and UMFA negotiating team to make sure that we're staying at the table and that we're arriving at a solution that gets this strike over," Kearsey said.

UMFA and university administration have been in talks since contract ended in March of this year. Negotiations broke down in October leading to the strike beginning earlier this week.

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