Union for University of Manitoba professors, librarians, instructors to hold strike vote

University of Manitoba faculty will soon decide whether or not to hit the picket lines.

University of Manitoba Faculty Association suggests latest wage offer from university mandated by province

A building on the University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus.
The union that represents U of M professors, instructors and librarians says its membership has approved a strike vote, which will take place between Oct. 16-18. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

University of Manitoba faculty will soon decide whether or not to hit the picket lines.

Instructors, professors and librarians at the U of M have asked the University of Manitoba Faculty Association to conduct a strike vote after collective bargaining negotiations hit an impasse, the union said Wednesday night.

"Students rely on us every day in classrooms, libraries and labs. We want the University of Manitoba to continue being a great university. That means attracting great instructors, professors and librarians, and keeping the talent we have," UMFA president Orvie Dingwall said in a statement.

"It's hard to attract new staff and keep existing staff when they can work elsewhere for fewer hours and more money."

According to the union, U of M president Michael Benarroch confirmed Wednesday that wage increases on offer have been mandated by the provincial government. 

Dingwall said the current deal mirrors wage freeze restrictions the Progressive Conservative government attempted to impose on the public sector in 2017 through the Public Services Sustainability Act.

That legislation was ultimately defeated in the courts, with the ruling judge describing the proposed freeze as a "Draconian measure" that limited unions' bargaining power and violated certain rights.

"This provincial government needs to stop interfering in negotiations" Dingwall said in a statement. "And we need the university to come to the bargaining table with a reasonable salary offer so we can negotiate a fair deal."

The union strike vote is scheduled to take place between Oct. 16-18. Results are expected the morning of Oct. 19, the union said.