University of Manitoba faculty could go on strike Nov. 16

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association has set a bargaining deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, in its contract dispute with university administration.

Union sets bargaining deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14

Cars parade past the Manitoba legislature Thursday afternoon, as part of a honkathon staged by the University of Manitoba Faculty Association in support of its contract dispute with administration. (Trevor Lyons/CBC)

The clock is ticking on contract negotiations at the University of Manitoba, after the union representing faculty announced a bargaining deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14.

If the deadline passes without a deal, the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) says a strike would begin on Monday, Nov. 16.

In a news release Thursday, the union said it wants a modest pay increase, a more equitable salary grid and extra supports during the COVID-19 pandemic for faculty caring for children and other dependents.

"We're working significantly longer hours during the pandemic," UMFA president Michael Shaw said in the release.

"We are struggling to care for dependents, care for our own mental health, while teaching more students than ever."

UMFA organized a honkathon Thursday, where they encouraged supporters to drive by the Manitoba legislative building and honk in support of the union's contract dispute.

Since the start of the pandemic, classes at the U of M have been taught remotely.

UMFA says it set the bargaining deadline because of university administration's refusal to settle the dispute through binding arbitration.

In a statement posted to its website Thursday, the university says the two sides have agreed to mediation as the next step in the process, starting next week.

The last time the university's 1,200 professors, instructors and librarians walked off the job was in 2016, a strike that lasted about three weeks.