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UMFA rejects the path of compromise

November 7, 2016 — 

The University of Manitoba is disappointed that UMFA has once again rejected an offer made by the University in a spirit of compromise.

In an effort to reach an agreement and enable students to return to their normal academic schedules, the University made an offer that directly addresses issues raised by UMFA. In its compromise settlement offer, the University provided supports for faculty to alleviate workload concerns and added language to reconfirm that research metrics would not replace comprehensive assessments of quality and quantity of work.

The University remains very concerned about the impact of the strike on students and the 2016-17 academic year. The University recognizes UMFA’s concerns and is committed to addressing them, as our consecutive offers demonstrate.

“We hear from students every hour with questions and concerns. They are distressed and disheartened. We all know why we are here, and what a University is all about; this is not it,” said Vice-President (External) John Kearsey. “A university is about dialogue, learning, research, engagement. It’s incumbent upon all of us at the bargaining table to resolve these issues without compromising students.”

The University’s offer is available online.

The University stands by efforts to reach a compromise and break the impasse. A reading of the offer will show that the University has attempted to resolve this. The University has compromised.

Highlights:

–        Teaching workload and assignment: UMFA is asking for faculty members to have complete control over their workload, removing Deans and Department Heads from responsibility to make decisions around teaching.  UMFA examples of workload increases are real, and include more papers to mark, more labs and clinics to supervise, more administrative paperwork to complete.  As an immediate solution, the University of Manitoba has proposed a $1.5 million fund to provide immediate support in the form of additional graduate student assistance and other supports for the teaching duties of faculty members. In addition, new Collective Agreement provisions will help ensure that teaching assignments are made fairly and appropriately.

–        Administrative workload: The University of Manitoba will put into place immediate supports to assist faculty members in completing administrative tasks, including those associated with the University’s travel and expense policies and tools (e.g., Concur). The University will establish joint committees to examine additional ways to provide improved supports, with access to $0.5 million to implement their recommendations.

–        Research metrics:  “UMFA has proposed that no member will be compared within or across disciplines on the basis of a standardized quantitative factor or metrics.” The University has already agreed and reaffirms that research metrics will NOT be used as a substitute for comprehensive assessment of quality and quantity of a faculty member’s work in the course of evaluative processes, such as tenure and promotion reviews.

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