No panic, lots of support among U of M students

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Students don't like crossing their professors' picket line but many did it Tuesday in order to get to classes.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/11/2016 (2106 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Students don’t like crossing their professors’ picket line but many did it Tuesday in order to get to classes.

Picketers handing out pamphlets held up traffic on University Crescent for two or three minutes at a time.

Not all instructors at the U of M are members of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association and some crossed picket lines to teach.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS University of Manitoba student Anas Alkassim.

Julian Frankel, who is in his final year in engineering, attended a full slate of classes Tuesday. He did not know which of instructors are UMFA members.

“(The strike) doesn’t seem to be a huge impact right now,” he said.

Frankel, like most students interviewed, supports UMFA and said students who refuse to cross the picket line have been told accommodations will be made for them. However, he said it would mean combining his mid-term and final exams, creating a monster test worth 80 per cent of his grades, and he doesn’t want to do that.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS The University of Manitoba student Douglas O’Brien.

Some instructors were handing out “I Support UMFA” badges. Even though he wasn’t pressured, education student Douglas O’Brien took one from a professor.

O’Brien said he’s siding with the union because he believes the U of M’s evaluation system for promotions isn’t fair.

A non-unionized library employee supporting UMFA said the main issue is workload protection. The university is not filling openings, requiring staff to take on extra duties, he said, requesting anonymity. Some library staff are being forced to take on weekend and evening shifts, he said.

Student Josh Humphreys wasn’t concerned on the first day of the walkout. He expects the university will simply extend the academic year by the number of days affected once a deal is struck, much like what happened after a 20-day job action in the 1990s.

International student Meng Tian, from China, said it was “my first time to witness this sort of democracy. I think its an interesting experience for me.”

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

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