The University of Manitoba won”t write off the current academic year if professors walk off the job, students are being assured.
Last week, members of the U of M Faculty Association gave union leadership an 85.6 per cent strike mandate, but no date has been set.
Professors have been without a contract since March 31. The U of M Faculty Association has asked for a 6.9 per cent increase for a one-year deal, along with improved benefits and working conditions, while the university has offered seven per cent over four years, including a 17.5 per cent total wage raise for about one-third of the faculty eligible for incremental raises.
“The intent is that the academic year will be successfully completed,” says a statement on the U of M website. “Makeup of missed classes will depend on the length of the disruption. In the worst-case scenario, the commencement of the winter term may be delayed until classes and examinations of the fall term are completed.”
The statement says the university has plan to assess the continuation of classes on a case-by-case basis if there is a work stoppage.
The university has told students that not all teaching staff will be on strike, and that even some UMFA members will continue to teach: “Only those individuals who are members of UMFA and choose to participate will be on strike. Many academic staff are not members of UMFA, including sessional appointees, teaching assistants and certain members of the Max Rady College of Medicine. These individuals will continue with academic duties. All administrative, support and managerial staff will report to work as usual.”
Meanwhile, UMFA is advising students that whatever decision they make about crossing picket lines, they will not face consequences from the university or union; once a strike is over, professors will help students catch up on course work.
“We understand students have legitimate fears. Please keep in mind that no job action at the U of M has ever resulted in students losing their credits,” the union said in a statement. “We know that in addition to going to class, students live, play and exercise on campus, so they will be physically crossing the picket line. The administration does not require you to attend classes during the strike. However, you will be responsible for keeping up with all assigned class work.
“There will be picket lines coming in to campus. This can mean delays in getting onto campus, because UMFA members will be talking to those coming on to campus about why we are striking,” said UMFA.
It was not immediately clear Tuesday how UMFA would treat members of the public entering the grounds to access SmartPark, recreational activities and facilities, or events such as Winnipeg Blue Bombers games.
Read more by Nick Martin.
University of Manitoba: Operational Continuity Student FAQ
University of Manitoba Faculty Association: Strike Vote FAQ for Students