New Brunswick

Mount Allison faculty votes to strike

Academic staff at Mount Allison University have voted in favour of a strike if one is necessary to reach a deal with the university's administration.

Professors at Sackville university concerned about loss of academic freedom

Academic staff at Mount Allison University have voted in favour of a strike if one is necessary to reach a deal with the university's administration.

The Mount Allison Faculty Association says 86 per cent of full-time faculty and librarians voted to authorize strike action. Part-time faculty also voted 86 per cent in favour of strike action.

Voter turnout was 99 per cent for full-time faculty and 88 per cent for part-time, officials said.

Loralea Michaelis is the president of the Mount Allison Faculty Association. (CBC)
"The strong result shows our members's resolve to protect the academic mission of Mount Allison and its role in providing a supportive community for intellectual development and academic excellence," said MAFA president Loralea Michaelis.

There is disagreement over salary, pension and benefits, said Michaelis. But she says the key differences concern workload and the control faculty have over their own teaching and research.

The strike authorization comes when more than 500 members of the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers are walking picket lines in Fredericton and Saint John after taking strike action on Monday.

The UNB dispute is largely about compensation, with the faculty seeking pay levels comparable to other mid-sized Canadian universities.

A Statistics Canada report on teaching salaries at Canadian universities in 2010-11 put the average salary of  teaching staff at Mount Allison at $99,920.

Michaelis said faculty at Mount A are concerned about losing academic protections.

"Their proposals strike at the very heart of the principles of academic freedom and collegial governance which are fundamental to the university," she said.

The association maintains that the university has not kept pace with rising student enrolment over the last 10 years, resulting in heavier workload for faculty members.

"Instead of seeking greater control over our work, the administration should be addressing these workload issues and investing resources in our ability to do our work well."

The association represents 154 full-time and 56 part-time academic staff.

Contract negotiations have been taking place since July.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.