Union for U of Manitoba profs, instructors, librarians calls for strike vote

Professors, librarians and researchers at the University of Manitoba are calling for a strike vote after the union representing them says negotiations with the administration have halted.

U of M Faculty Association says staff want salaries that are more in line with other universities in Canada

UMFA has been in negotiations with administration since August, and without a collective agreement since April. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

The union representing professors, instructors and librarians at the University of Manitoba is calling for a strike vote, saying negotiations with the university administration have "stalled."

In a release issued Wednesday, the University of Manitoba Faculty Association said staff want higher salaries that are more in line with other universities across Canada, as well as "more equitable hiring, tenure and promotion processes, and the continued freedom to use their free time to offer their expertise to Manitobans."

UMFA president Orvie Dingwall says the union wants the U of M "to be a top school," which means attracting and keeping the best researchers and teachers.

"Student experience, research, and innovation are diminished in this province every year because of recruitment and retention problems, even though the money is there," Dingwall wrote in the union's news release.

She said the university's bargaining proposal has considerably restricted outside professional activities by faculty, which can be paid or unpaid.

Faculty require permission from the university before offering services to the community — a move the university asserts is intended to prevent conflicts of interest, or the perception of conflicts.

UMFA has been in negotiations with administration since August, and without a collective agreement since April.  

The University of Manitoba's board of governors voted in March to approve a $660-million budget for the 2020-21 academic year, which includes a tuition increase to make up for a shortfall in government funding. 

Students at Manitoba's largest university are paying an average 3.75 per cent more in tuition this school year.

The faculty association pointed out that while university enrolment has increased, the province has allowed university administration to increase tuition over the past three years.

The university is continuing to meet with the UMFA bargaining team "with the view to conclude a collective agreement," said the executive director for the university's public affairs department.

The two parties met three times in the past week and meet again Friday, she said.

U of M classes resumed Sept. 8, with most delivered remotely. The school has nearly 30,000 full- and part-time students. 


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