Message from U of M President David Barnard and UMFA President Mark Hudson
A message from UMFA President Mark Hudson and U of M President David Barnard to all members of the University of Manitoba community:
After one day of productive mediation, the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) have agreed to communicate jointly to the University community about a dramatic recent development in our ongoing efforts to negotiate a new collective agreement.
From the University of Manitoba’s perspective: Over the past several days, the Province has made clear to the University that it has established fresh mandate parameters that seek cooperation in achieving a compensation “pause” throughout the public sector. Public bodies, including the University of Manitoba, are being asked to extend existing contracts for an additional year at zero per cent in order to stabilize public sector compensation levels.
We now find ourselves in the unusual circumstance of having a newly articulated Provincial mandate regarding public sector compensation levels that will have a profound impact on the final compensation levels that we will be able to negotiate, despite having already made what we believe to be a fair and reasonable offer on September 13, 2016.
The University of Manitoba is indeed challenged by these circumstances coming at the end of what has been a difficult but advancing series of discussions since March 2016.
From the University of Manitoba Faculty Association’s perspective: This 11th hour action represents illegitimate government interference in a constitutionally-protected process of collective bargaining. Mediation continues, and our focus is to advance our Members’ priorities through that process. The UM is an independent body whose Board must have the autonomy to engage in all aspects of negotiation. The Province has unnecessarily endangered a complex negotiation through this misguided interference, and its action has jeopardized the educational goals of every UM student. UMFA is currently exploring legal options, and continues to focus on negotiating a fair deal for its members.
Bargaining has been presented with an unexpected complication, but both parties are resolved to continue discussions.
Our negotiations comprise many issues of grave importance to valued faculty members and these will be addressed as the mediation process continues this weekend.
Both parties recognize the impacts a strike can have on students and will work diligently to avoid such an outcome prior to the November 1 strike deadline. The University administration and UMFA take our responsibility to the larger University of Manitoba community very seriously. We are united in caring deeply about the University’s mission to create, preserve and apply knowledge contributing to the well-being of this province, Canada and the world.
As both parties continue mediation throughout the weekend with a media blackout imposed by the mediator, there will be no further statements by either party.