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UM update on UMFA negotiations

October 30, 2020 — 

A message from the President and Vice-Presidents of the University of Manitoba.

As of Oct. 30’s news of code red status for Winnipeg and code orange for the rest of Manitoba reminds us, we are living through extraordinarily challenging times. First, we thank our entire community for pulling together and working in new ways to help our students succeed.

As the administrators appointed to lead the University of Manitoba and sustain its long-term operations, we understand and appreciate the remarkable flexibility and accommodation shown by the entire university community in response to the global pandemic, in particular by the students and the faculty and staff, as we have moved to primarily remote academic program delivery. We thank you, and we reiterate our commitment to supporting student success.

Members of our university community are understandably concerned this week about the collective bargaining negotiations between the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) that have not yet reached a positive outcome.

We cannot speak about the specifics of the bargaining because we are committed to a fair bargaining process, but we want to assure you that our focus remains on reaching an agreement, at the bargaining table.

Our priority is doing what we can to prevent any further disruption to students’ lives.

We have met with UMFA eight times since August 20 and are ready to return to the table at any time. August 20 was the date both parties agreed to begin these discussions.

These discussions are what is termed a “salary re-opener,” with the main matter to be resolved being UMFA salaries for one year, as the University and UMFA agreed to do four years ago. The collective bargaining agreement with UMFA expires on March 31, 2021, at which time we will need to begin bargaining for a new agreement.

We continue to believe the best course of action is to continue our discussions with UMFA.

The impacts of the global pandemic and other factors have altered our current reality and imposed unique constrictions this year. The University remains committed ultimately to bringing UMFA salaries more in line with salaries at peer universities.

At this time, with so many external pressures on all of us, most especially students, their health and well-being remain our utmost concern.

We remind everyone to adhere to the guidelines shared with us by public health officials. Stay healthy.

Laurie Schnarr, vice-provost, students, will be communicating with students with further information related to student supports during this time.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Michael Benarroch
Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Janice Ristock
Vice-President (External), John Kearsey
Vice-President (Indigenous), Catherine Cook
Vice-President (Research and International), Digvir Jayas
Acting Vice-President (Administration), Naomi Andrew

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