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Faculty, U of M reach a deal

Tentative agreement; classes on today

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University of Manitoba students don’t have to be worried about the possibility of a professors’ strike any longer. A tentative three-year deal was reached late Monday.

MELISSA TAIT / WINNIPEG FREE PRE Enlarge Image

University of Manitoba students don’t have to be worried about the possibility of a professors’ strike any longer. A tentative three-year deal was reached late Monday.

It will be classes as normal at the University of Manitoba today.

A tentative agreement was reached late Monday night between the university and the faculty association.

The deal is a three-year agreement.

'I am pleased to be able to inform our students that we will be open and operating with no disruption to their learning'

¬¬¬¬

-- U of M president and vice-chancellor David Barnard

While the university said the deal covers all major issues, it also said that unresolved issues will go to binding arbitration.

The university did not say what those unresolved issues might be and faculty association president Sharon Alward could not be reached for comment.

"I extend my congratulations to the bargaining teams for all their efforts to reach a negotiated settlement," U of M president and vice-chancellor David Barnard said. "Most importantly, I am pleased to be able to inform our students that we will be open and operating with no disruption to their learning."

No details on the terms of the settlement were available.

The tentative agreement was reached with the help of mediator Michael Werier, appointed by the provincial government late Friday after talks between the two sides had reached an impasse.

The faculty said the major stumbling block was the independence of faculty: a professor's right to criticize the university and to freely choose research without interference.

It appeared the university was strongly opposed to any language in the collective agreement that protected academic freedom, language the faculty said was common at most other Canadian universities.

Before the agreement was reached, the university was proposing a four-year deal with wage increases of 2.9 per cent the first year and two per cent in each of the three remaining years; the faculty had countered with a two-year deal with increases of 2.9 per cent each year.

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association, representing 1,245 full-time academic staff, had voted 68 per cent in favour of going on strike at midnight Tuesday. UMFA last went on strike in 2001.

In an open letter on its website, the faculty association stated the labour dispute revolved around the independence of professors -- a professor's right to criticize the university and freely choose research without interference.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 22, 2013 B1

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Updated on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 7:37 AM CDT: adds photo

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