UMFA, U of M reach tentative agreement

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) and U of M administration have reached a tentative deal to end the immediate threat of a strike. 

Despite demands from UMFA for third-party binding arbitration, a deal was reached through mediation Sunday. The agreement is yet to be ratified by UMFA members. 

Mediation took place over the course of four days, from Nov. 12 to Nov. 15. The strike deadline was moved once  from Nov. 14 to Nov. 15  to allow more time for talks to continue. 

The deal the U of M has offered includes a one-time COVID-19 stipend of $1,950, and a zero per cent salary increase in line with the demands of the province. UMFA also retains its rights to legal action against the effects of the unconstitutional Public Services Sustainability Act and a guarantee on salary discussions in bargaining the upcoming collective agreement. 

This agreement is a far cry from UMFA’s original ask, which called for a more equitable salary grid, a modest increase to wages for the 2020-21 contract year and extra supports during the pandemic for those with dependent care responsibilities.” 

In a release, UMFA president Michael Shaw said Premier [Brian] Pallister and his government continue to interfere in collective bargaining.” 

Rather than investing in post-secondary education as enrolments increase and Manitobans look for opportunities for re-skilling, Pallister is using the pandemic as an excuse to undermine public education and public sector unions.” 

The release also stated that the U of M refused to negotiate on COVID-related relief for dependent care, despite member pleas for support.” 

In a statement, U of M president Michael Benarroch said “We are thankful that students are able to continue their classes and academic activities.” 

To our faculty, we value and respect you as indispensable collaborators in our shared mission of advanced research and higher education. We are pleased that our community will be able to continue teaching, learning and researching at UM without interruption on while the voting process takes place.” 

UMFA membership will vote on ratifying this agreement later this week.