The University of Manitoba Teachers Association has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike mandate, with a record 85 percent turnout in favor of calling for a strike, if necessary.
The UMFA is calling for pay increases to address what it calls ongoing recruiting and retention issues, and is also calling on the university to reject government-imposed regulations that call for small increases over the next three years.
Association president Orvie Dingwall says she hopes there will be no strike.
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“I think at the root of this, our members have authorized a strike vote and in doing so they are really asking the university administration to come to the table with a reasonable salary offer,” Dingwall told 680 CJOB.
Long waiting lists for students are an ongoing problem, Dingwall said, because there have been difficulties recruiting and retaining the right staff to meet the demand. It’s a stressful time, he said.
“We are going to lose our faculty members and we are not going to be able to attract the best talent that we want to be here in Manitoba,” he said.
“This is a call to the administration to bring stability to the students at this time.”
The president of the university’s student union, Brendan Scott, said the standoff is definitely affecting students, who are forced to monitor exchanges between the two sides for fear that a strike could affect their classes.
“We saw this coming from a mile away,” Scott told 680 CJOB.
“The hope was that the university and UMFA could reach an agreement before they had to get to this point, but unfortunately, we are here.”
Although Scott said he personally supports the faculty, the student union has yet to take an official position on the issue. A board meeting on Thursday will include presentations from both sides so the student board can make an informed decision.
“The students are intelligent. For many students, this is not the first time they have been through this, ”Scott said.
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