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U of M faculty on strike after failed negotiations with administration

University of Manitoba University of Manitoba

As of Nov. 2 the halls and classrooms at the University of Manitoba are going to be a lot less busy.

On Monday, the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) announced it would be going on strike after months of failed negotiations with the University of Manitoba administration.

Orvie Dingwall, president of the UMFA, said administration hasn’t come to the table with a reasonable salary offer.

“Our salaries are ranked at the bottom of comparable universities and that’s impacting our ability to recruit and retain other faculty,” Dingwall said.

Dingwall said the PC government’s wage freeze for faculty members has the UMFA trying to play catch up after five years without an increase. She added that the UMFA sent a letter to the new PC Leader Heather Stefanson asking that they allow bargaining to happen without interference.

Dingwall said the U of M had a $94 million surplus last year.

“Our salary ask is far less than $94 million, so what we’re asking for is well within the means on the university to afford,” she said.

Dingwall said not being able to recruit and retain new faculty impacts the quality of education provided to students.

Brendan Scott, president of the University of Manitoba Students Union (UMSU), said a lot of classes will be on pause during the strike.

“We are very much left in the dark on what’s being said at the table and if something will be resolved anytime soon,” he said.

Scott said the UMSU supports the UMFA in getting a fair deal, but it hopes the strike is resolved quickly.

“I think there’s also some worry that if the strike goes on long enough, are winter semesters effected? And that would affect the time that students graduate,” he said.

Michael Benarroch, president and vice Chancellor of the university, said it offered the UMFA a deal that features a two-year monetary proposal that has general salary increases, and salary structure changes that would see salaries increase by 9.5 per cent over that two-year period.

He said it can’t solve the wage issues from the last five years in one round of bargaining.

“There’s more in this contract in future years, and if we’re able to keep up on cost of living increase with other provinces, I think this salary structure will keep us competitive across Canada,” he said.

Dingwall said the education provided at U of M is world class, at least right now.

“We have students from all around the world who come and choose the University of Manitoba, and we need to keep it that way,” she said. Top Stories

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