U of M strike: 'Collegial model' could address workload issues, says UMFA

The union representing faculty at the University of Manitoba says it believes a "collegial model" is the solution to preventing unexpected workload increases at the school.

Model works well at Queen's University: union

Faculty members continue to walk the picket lines at the University of Manitoba as the strike enters its second week. (CBC)

The union representing faculty at the University of Manitoba says it believes a "collegial model" is the solution to preventing unexpected workload increases at the school.

The proposed process would require deans and faculties to collaborate in setting workload expectations, according to a news release from the University of Manitoba Faculty Association.

If an agreement between the parties cannot be reached after two attempts, the matter would be referred to the UMFA and the vice-president academic for consideration. If all else fails, the matter would be referred to an independent arbitration process.

The collegial model has worked successfully at Queen's University, said UMFA.

Unpredictable workload increases have been a major sticking point with the UMFA. In an offer on Sunday, the university's administration proposed hiring more graduate students and markers to ease some of the pressure.

The union rejected the plan, however, saying it did not go far enough.

Arts instructors at the University of Manitoba had their workload increased by 30 per cent overnight, said the union, and class sizes are getting so large some students have to sit on the floor.

The strike has entered its second week, though classes taught by non-UMFA members — teaching assistants and sessional instructors — remain in session, and some professors have crossed picket lines. 

CBC has contacted the University of Manitoba administration for comment Tuesday.