A strike at the University of Manitoba has been averted — at least, for now, the faculty association announced Monday, alongside the contents of a tentative agreement it has reached with administration.
For weeks, the University of Manitoba Faculty Association and school administration have been in deadlock over salary negotiations. The school has proposed a zero per cent salary increase in line with the provincial government’s public sector wage freeze legislation, which was ruled unconstitutional in the summer, according to UMFA.
The university has refused to arbitrate the issues and instead, agreed to mediation over the weekend, but the union said that despite U of M president Michael Benarroch’s commitment to bring faculty wages in line with comparable Canadian universities, the school did not budge during recent negotiations.
"Premier Pallister and his government continue to interfere in collective bargaining," UMFA President Michael Shaw said in a prepared release Monday. "Rather than investing in post-secondary education as enrolments increase and Manitobans look for opportunities for re-skilling, Pallister is using the pandemic as an excuse to undermine public education and public sector unions."
A ratification vote will be held later this week to approve a tentative agreement that includes a COVID-19-related stipend paid to UMFA members to recognize their work since the pandemic began and reassert the union’s right to court-ordered remedies regarding the public sector wage freeze legislation.