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Education faculty telling students to skip school Monday

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The University of Manitoba's striking professors will move their picket line inside campus Friday and hold a noon rally outside the administration building.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/11/2016 (2154 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The University of Manitoba’s striking professors will move their picket line inside campus Friday and hold a noon rally outside the administration building.

The U of M Faculty Association is asking other unions, labour organizations, and its supporters to join striking professors, UMFA president Mark Hudson said Thursday morning.

The move is legal, U of M communications director John Danakas said Thursday morning. “They’re able to do it — it’s a public space,” he said.

JOHN WOODS / CANADIAN PRESS FILES MTS advised students that any time in a classroom during the strike would be considered volunteering, and would not constitute valid training without the supervision of an education professor.

UMFA began its third day on strike Thursday; conciliation talks were to continue this afternoon for a second day under a media blackout.

Anyone joining the rally will not be crossing picket lines, since picketers will not be at the university’s entrances during the rally, Hudson said.

UMFA wants to make the strike more visible to the administration, he said. The strikers will muster at 11:30 a.m. at the corner of University Crescent and Chancellor Matheson Drive adjacent to Investors Group Field, then march across campus to the administration building.

Meanwhile, the U of M’s faculty of education has advised students not to go to a single-day school practicum Monday if faculty is still on strike.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society became what is believed to be the first outside organization to involve itself in the strike when it told education students Wednesday not to cross picket lines and not to go to school practicums until the strike is over.

The education students’ council at the U of M has not responded to telephone and email interview requests.

There is a one-day practicum Monday, but education students are scheduled to begin six weeks in a classroom later this month. MTS advised students that any time in a classroom during the strike would be considered volunteering, and would not constitute valid training without the supervision of an education professor.

“We’re not aware of any other organization doing that,” Danakas said Thursday morning.

Danakas said the dean of education is sending a letter to all students, but the university at this point will not comment on MTS’s involvement.

“At this point, we’re going to focus on getting accurate information to the students,” he said.

Hudson said the strikers appreciate MTS’s stance.

“We support their position on that. It’s important for the union to tell future members not to cross picket lines,” Hudson said. Those students should not be going to schools on a practicum, he said: “Their faculty advisers are on strike.”

UMFA has said it would consider the province’s mandate to extend the current contract one year with a wage freeze, if the university gives sufficient ground on workload and governance issues, including how promotion and tenure are determined.

In its last publicly-disclosed salary offer, the university had put on the table a seven per cent increase over four years; for one-third of the members still eligible for incremental raises, the package would total 17.5 per cent over four years.

UMFA sought a 6.9 per cent overall increase for one year.

In the deal that expired March 31, assistant professors were paid from $71,777 to $107,666, associate professors from $84,251 to $126,376, and professors from $103,451 to $155,777. UMFA has argued that its members are paid significantly less than their peers in some other provinces.

Instructors and librarians are part of the bargaining unit.

The university will continue classes on a case-by-case basis, largely dependent on which professors cross the picket line. The U of M said updates on which classes are being held will be posted on umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo.

Neither Danakas nor Hudson could say Thursday morning how many professors have crossed the picket line and continued working.

Said Hudson: “There’s shifting terrain. There are people who said intially they would teach, who now are not teaching.”

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Thursday, November 3, 2016 1:11 PM CDT: Updates

Updated on Thursday, November 3, 2016 1:34 PM CDT: Adds factbox

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