University and faculty reach tentative agreement

Ratification vote scheduled after U of M and UMFA reach tentative agreement late Sunday, classes expected to resume Tuesday

Photo by Anh Phan.

Negotiators for the University of Manitoba and its faculty association have reached a tentative agreement to end a strike that has now run for three weeks.

In a release issued late Sunday evening, the university announced that conciliation discussions with the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) progressed in key areas concerning teaching workload assignments, the use of metrics to assess faculty performance, and job protection.

A ratification vote is scheduled for today. If UMFA’s more than 1,200 professors, researchers, and librarians confirm the deal, classes are expected to resume Tuesday.

Hundreds of classes at the U of M were cancelled after UMFA set up pickets Nov. 1 following a weekend of failed mediation. The two sides have been negotiating toward a new agreement since the last contract expired March 31.

UMFA president Mark Hudson said details of the proposed agreement would not be released until after ratification. Results of the vote are not expected until late evening, he said.

A notice issued on UMFA’s official twitter page Sunday evening boasted, “We have a fair deal!” and thanked students for their support.

The agreement comes days after the University of Manitoba Students’ Union organized a support rally on the pickets Friday. More than 200 students marched from the picket lines to the administration building in a show of support for faculty.

Negotiations appeared to reach a stalemate a week ago after the university said conciliation discussions had broken down and called on the union to hold a membership vote on a proposal roundly rejected by the association’s leadership.

While UMFA did not put the offer – initially presented to its bargaining team Nov. 6 – to its entire membership, it did return to the table with a revised proposal Wednesday.

A media blackout was put into effect when discussions resumed until the agreement was announced Sunday.

New schedule

Under a modified schedule approved by the U of M senate Nov. 10, if the strike winds down this week strike-affected classes will run until Jan. 13, followed by an exam period between Jan. 14-21.

The holiday break will continue as planned between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. The voluntary withdrawal date extends to Dec. 14.

Classes that resumed through the strike will continue as scheduled until Dec. 9, with an exam period between Dec. 12-22.

The winter term will run between Jan. 23 and April 21 with an exam period from April 22-29. The winter reading week will be cancelled.

Convocation is scheduled for June 5-9.