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Deal reached in Brandon University strike

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Brandon University faculty have ended the longest professors’ strike in Manitoba history.

BU president Deborah Poff said a tentative agreement was reached around 9 p.m. Friday, ending a 45-day strike that first began Oct. 12 and interrupted the school year for 3,100 students.

The two sides entered mediation Oct. 25 far apart on wages, benefits, working conditions and contract language. Earlier this month, a mediator declared an impasse between the university and its 240 professors.

Poff would not discuss the terms of the agreement, and said it still needs to be ratified by union membership.

"I think we need to do some healing but I think most people will be extremely relieved," Poff said.

Poff said classes will resume on Monday, and the university plans to ensure every student completes the school year.

During the strike, she said the university drafted a "worst-case scenario" plan to push December exams into January, and extend the second term to April 24 to ensure every student can complete the year and graduate on time.

Poff said staff will talk to students and parents and draft a plan. She said BU’s senate would have to approve shifting exams and term classes around.

"We’ll re-think it this week now that we know," she said.

The labour dispute was settled before professors were ordered to vote on the university’s final contract offer.

On Monday, Labour Minister Jennifer Howard took the unusual step of ordering faculty members to vote on the university’s latest offer "immediately." The vote was to take place over three days next week.

The move angered the union and was condemned by those who felt it undermined the collective bargaining process, including The Canadian Association of University Teachers.

The York University faculty strike in 1997 lasted 55 days and the Laval University strike in 1976 went on for four months, according to the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Friday, November 25, 2011 at 10:31 PM CST: Updates with details, quotes

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