A few protests show support for the U of Manitoba faculty on the brink of possible strike

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

Protesters said the candidate who will be elected as the next leader of Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Party – and will be the new prime minister – should stop interfering in the union negotiations between the union and the university.

They gathered Saturday afternoon outside the Victoria Inn in western Winnipeg, where the Progressive Conservatives will announce their leadership.

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association, which represents 1,170 people, says its members are close to leaving the job because of five years of pay cuts and government interference.

“It really is the government that is keeping the university and us from reaching an agreement that can enable us to recruit and retain excellent professors and maintain a quality of education that is necessary for students in Manitoba,” said Erik Thompson, Vice President for the faculty. association.

The association voted earlier this month to approve the strike, and has set a negotiation deadline for October 31 and a strike deadline for November 2.

Retaining and recruiting faculties has long been a problem at the university, as the administration has introduced wage freezes and increases in inflation in response to government mandates.

Supporters of the U of M faculty association are urging the winner of the PC leadership race to lift the mandate to freeze salaries, which they say are driving talented people out of the province. (Marouane Refak / SRC)

The provincial government presented a bill to legislate wage cuts for public sector employees in 2017. That legislation was put down in court, but earlier this month, the government won its appeal of that decision.

U of M employees earn, on average, the second-lowest salary among 15 research-based universities in Canada, according to the association.

Thompson and the faculty association want the next prime minister – either Shelly Glover or Heather Stefanson, the two candidates for party leadership – to focus on leading the province and avoid meddling in the university, as they say former prime minister Brian Pallister did.

“I certainly hope that this time it is an obvious decision for the leader to take to distance himself from the legacy of the Pallister … and a policy of restraint that keeps us from investing in some of our most important institutions.”

The paws of: Students who support UMFA

Saturday’s rally followed a Friday in which students showed their loyalty to the faculty association by bringing their dogs to the legislative area and asking the government to keep its paws away from the negotiation process.

Dozens of students, staff, faculty, and other supporters, accompanied by their furry companions, gathered outside the Legislative Assembly with signs with messages such as “PC interference bite.”

One protester dressed as the cartoon dog Scooby-Doo while others collected dog treats and placed them under a sign that read, “Government interference in UMFA negotiations is a pile of,” and had an arrow pointing down to the collected poser.

U of M students brought their dogs to the legislative area of ​​Manitoba last Friday to show support for the university’s faculty association, which is stuck in a labor dispute. Its negotiation deadline is midnight Sunday. (Prabhjot Lotey / CBC)

The protest was organized by a grassroots interdisciplinary group called Students Supporting UMFA.

In a letter to Advanced Education Minister Wayne Ewasko, which was sent to social media on Friday, the group said it was concerned that “the successive threats of academic disruption will greatly limit the value we will be able to get out of our post-secondary education – and in turn contribute to the workforce. “

A person dressed as Scooby-Doo accused the progressive conservative government of meddling in collective bargaining between the University of Manitoba and the faculty association. (Prabhjot Lotey / CBC)

CBC News has requested a comment from the province, but a response was not immediately given.

A spokesman for the university said earlier this month that the U of M continued to meet with the faculty association and approached the negotiating team “with a view to concluding a collective agreement.”

The group of students who support UMFA said the collective bargaining is being “pursued” by government intervention. (Warren Cariou)

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