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University of Manitoba faculty take to the picket lines as strike begins


Faculty members at the University of Manitoba hit the picket lines on Tuesday morning as the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) went on strike.

The strike began on Tuesday after months of failed negotiations with the university’s administration.

Orvie Dingwall, president of the UMFA, said the union wants reasonable and competitive salaries for professors, instructors, and librarians.

“Recruitment and retention has really become a significant issue after having our wages essentially frozen over the last five years,” she said in an interview on Tuesday.

“When we can’t recruit and keep faculty here in Manitoba then that jeopardizes the quality of education for students.”

Dingwall said faculty members want to be back in the classrooms and research labs, but the university needs to remain competitive so that students also choose to stay in Manitoba.


Dingwall said the union has been calling on the Manitoba government to withdraw its wage mandate and allow the university to bargain freely and fairly.

She noted that the university receives an operating grant from the province, but that the U of M is supposed to be independent of the province.

“We’re very concerned that the government is so interested in trying to mandate and control or freeze our salaries,” Dingwall said.

“That’s the business of the university’s administration.”

In a statement on Monday, Advanced Education, Skills, and Immigration Minister Wayne Ewasko said the government is not at the bargaining table and urged both sides to continue realistic bargaining.


Dingwall recognizes a strike is disruptive for students. However, she said the UMFA has received support from students over the key issues of the strike.

“The largest student union, UMSU, they endorse their support for us,” she said.

“Many other student associations have also endorsed their support.”

She noted that the UMFA has been asking students to call on Michael Benarroch, president and vice-chancellor of the university, to come back to the bargaining table with a reasonable salary offer.

The union also wants students to call on the province to withdraw the wage mandate.

CTV Winnipeg previously reported that Benarroch said the university offered the UMFA a deal with a two-year monetary proposal that has general salary increases, as well as salary structures changes that would see salaries increase by 9.5 per cent over that two-year period.

- With files from CTV’s Mike Arsenault, Michael Hutchinson and Nicole Dube. Top Stories

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