Mediator blames U of M faculty for prolonging strike

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A labour mediator says striking faculty members at the University of Manitoba should put down their pickets and return to class so students "should not continue to suffer during a leisurely and ultimately futile negotiation."

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/11/2021 (257 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A labour mediator says striking faculty members at the University of Manitoba should put down their pickets and return to class so students “should not continue to suffer during a leisurely and ultimately futile negotiation.”

In his final recommendation to the administration and the faculty association, Arne Peltz said the union’s position that all non-monetary issues be settled by negotiation before salary matters are settled by arbitration is “wholly unrealistic and unworkable.”

He had earlier recommended the two sides seek arbitration to settle every facet of the dispute. The strike by 1,200 professors, instructors and librarians started Nov. 2.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES A labour mediator says striking faculty members at the University of Manitoba should put down their pickets and return to class so students "should not continue to suffer during a leisurely and ultimately futile negotiation."

Peltz made his comments in a document released by the university Friday.

“I urge (the faculty association) to reconsider. There is no need for this strike to continue. If it does, this will not be because of a restrictive government mandate or employer intransigence.

“Like the University, (the association) should be willing to subject all its proposals to scrutiny before an independent arbitrator and to live with the result.”

Peltz also drafted a “customized arbitration referral” which he said was fair to both sides.

In Peltz’s referral, he said after agreeing an arbitrator would be called in, the association would end the strike and its members would return to work with all issues related to pay and benefits to be decided by the arbitrator.

Peltz said the arbitrator, to make a salary award, would also look at helping professors make “reasonable advancement in the U15 Group of Canadian Research University salary standings towards the 25th percentile during the life of the collective agreement.”

And Peltz said any bargaining mandates issued by the provincial government would not be considered by the arbitrator. The union has repeatedly said a provincial mandate on salary increases has interfered in the bargaining process.

In response, the faculty association accused Peltz of prolonging the strike.

“Last night, the university’s administration chose to reject (our) proposals relating to governance and working conditions,” said faculty association president Orvie Dingwall in a statement. “Our proposal would have allowed students and faculty to return to the classroom, while issues of compensation would have been referred to binding arbitration.

“Today, we learned that part of the reason for this rejection is that the mediator failed to adequately communicate information regarding our most recent proposals to the administration. We strongly believe that we can reach an agreement with the administration that prioritizes recruitment and retention and will continue to focus on an outcome that is favourable to students and our members.”

The administration would only say “the University of Manitoba has agreed to accept the mediator’s recommendations.”

Dingwall said the two sides will bargain without a mediator throughout the weekend and remains “open to arbitration if certain issues relating to governance and working conditions for our members can be resolved beforehand,” he said.

“We remain committed to bargaining in good faith directly with the administration.”

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

 

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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