The University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) have reached an agreement to enter into binding arbitration, ending a strike that has lasted over a month.
In a statement to his colleagues at the U of M, vice-president (external) John Kearsey announced he would be resigning Dec. 3.
UMSU passed a motion Nov. 22 endorsing binding arbitration to resolve the UMFA strike.
A number of incidents have further eroded the relationship between UMFA, the university administration and the provincial government since then, and the effect is palpable. In 2016, as I remember it, the mood was determined but apologetic — the academic strike was a new and frightening concept to most students, and both UMFA and the university made significant efforts to explain what was happening and maintained an outwardly friendly relationship. But this disagreement has gone on for years now, and what seemed like a small fight has escalated to full-blown resentment.
Despite promotion considered problematic by some, an evening strike march through Old Tuxedo proceeded smoothly last Tuesday.
The students, organized by Students Supporting UMFA (SSUMFA), demanded the administration offer faculty a fair deal. The protesters held signs with slogans like, “Listen up Benarroch” — directed at university president Michael Benarroch — and “Get back to bargaining” as they prevented staff from entering the building until 9:30 a.m.
Picketers will line the entrances to the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses for the second time in five years after Monday’s negotiations between the U of M and faculty broke down.
Hundreds of University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) members bombarded the offices of Wayne Ewasko, the provincial minister of advanced education, skills and immigration, and Minister of Finance Scott Fielding with phone calls last week to demand an end to government interference in their negotiations with U of M administration.
The strike currently taking place at the U of M is only the most recent symptom of the government’s austerity agenda and is making matters worse. If labour market tightness is the problem — as Manitoba’s new premier asserted during her leadership campaign — we should be investing more in our post-secondary institutions and doing more to support students to move through their programs and get in the job market.
The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) approved strike action in the first week of November. After three days of voting and an 85 per…