UWinnipeg strike deadline stretched
The University of Winnipeg Faculty Association (UWFA) is calling in fresh troops after contract talks with university administration broke down on Saturday.
The faculty association is now bringing in the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) to negotiate on its behalf, however a strike deadline set by the union of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday has been stretched by 24 hours to the same time on Thursday.
"[The] CAUT has a little bit more clout, carries with it more experience and use their experience as well as the experiences of other universities at the bargaining table," said Shannon Sampert, a U of W professor and UWFA spokesperson.
The strike deadline still applies, even if a conciliator is brought in to try to reach a resolution. Both sides have now agreed to ask the province to appoint one.
'We had felt that we'd reached a point where we thought it was time to bring in a third party — an external source — to help us move forward.'—Dan Hurley, U of W associate vice president for external affairs
The university had earlier said it wanted to a conciliator appointed but was waiting to see if the UWFA would get on board. On Sunday, an agreement was made to submit a joint recommendation to the province.
"We had felt that we'd reached a point where we thought it was time to bring in a third party — an external source — to help us move forward. And so I guess we're glad to hear that they've agreed to that," said Dan Hurley, the university's associate vice president for external affairs.
Sampert said UWFA members will likely walk, even if conciliation is ongoing when the Thursday deadline is met.
"It's just the only way, it seems, that we can get these guys to take us seriously at this point in time. We've been without a contract for almost a year," she said, noting the university had the opportunity to talk with the association during the summer when students would not have been affected.
"They just haven't been able to do that so we have to put a little bit of fuel to the fire, unfortunately."
About 350 professors, librarians, coaches and counsellors would be out of class and on the picket lines if there's a walkout.
The two sides met Saturday but the UWFA walked away from the bargaining table after wage discussions began. The UWFA claims its members are underpaid, compared to other universities in the province.
But Hurley said if the institution was to grant an 8.4 per cent increase over three years, which is what the union is seeking, tuition for students would have to rise 10 per cent in that same time.
However, the UWFA said that's untrue and university administrators should look at their own inflated salaries to find savings.