May 20, 2018

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Labour board upholds ruling in favour of U of M faculty

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Administration Building at the University of Manitoba.</p>

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Administration Building at the University of Manitoba.

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association wants to see full payment of $2.4 million in damages after the Manitoba Labour Board dismissed the university’s appeal of a crucial unfair labour practice ruling.

The university had challenged the ruling the U of M violated collective bargaining rules when it kept quiet in 2016 about secret orders from Premier Brian Pallister that the university not disclose during bargaining that the province was imposing a wage freeze.

The labour board had earlier found the university guilty and ordered it to apologize and pay each member of the union up to $2,000 in damages.

UMFA told its members late Friday afternoon the labour board had upheld its ruling.

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The University of Manitoba Faculty Association wants to see full payment of $2.4 million in damages after the Manitoba Labour Board dismissed the university’s appeal of a crucial unfair labour practice ruling.

The university had challenged the ruling the U of M violated collective bargaining rules when it kept quiet in 2016 about secret orders from Premier Brian Pallister that the university not disclose during bargaining that the province was imposing a wage freeze.

The labour board had earlier found the university guilty and ordered it to apologize and pay each member of the union up to $2,000 in damages.

UMFA told its members late Friday afternoon the labour board had upheld its ruling.

"We’re disappointed that the administration challenged the labour board’s directive to apologize for what happened. For that reason alone they should be required to pay the full damages," UMFA president Prof. Janet Morrill told professors, librarians and instructors Friday afternoon.

"UMFA intends to quickly initiate talks with the administration regarding the extent of the fines to be paid, which amount to a maximum of $2,000 for each member of the union," Morrill said.

"This reaffirms what we’ve said all along.

"UMFA came to the bargaining table in good faith in order to find a way to improve working conditions at the university, and that good faith was ­disrespected by both the university administration and the government."

Long before the Manitoba government made public its plans to impose wage controls on 120,000 public workers through Bill 28, it ordered the university to have a one-year freeze, but not to disclose that to the union during bargaining.

The U of M finally told UMFA late in 2016; the union soon after went on strike for three weeks over working conditions.

University officials could not immediately be reached Friday afternoon.

The university will set its budget on May 22 for the 2018-19 school year. The Tory government has reduced post-secondary operating grants by 0.9 per cent, and cut funding to access programs and Research Manitoba. Tuition can increase by five per cent, plus the cost of living for a potential fee rise of about 6.7 per cent this fall.

The university has not said how it will source the $2.4 million.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Nick Martin.

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History

Updated on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 8:20 AM CDT: Final

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