The University of Manitoba's Faculty Association (UMFA) have decided that a strike action is not out of the question while the PC government continues to use "Draconian" measures to freeze wages, and interferes with collective bargaining.
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The right to collective bargaining is under attack! The University of Manitoba's faculty union is on the verge of strike action as a result of the provincial government’s ongoing interference in contract negotiations in the public sector.
This interference by the province in the collective bargaining process is not isolated to the current negotiations between UMFA and the University of Manitoba. The government introduced the Public Services Sustainability Act in 2017, a bill which froze and limited the wages of more than 100,000 public sector workers. This year the act was struck down by a court ruling that declared it a “draconian measure that has inhibited and dramatically reduced the unions' bargaining power and violates associational rights." Now the government is simply directing public sector employers to not negotiate any wage increases. It’s hard-line wage freeze policy is why school bus drivers in Winnipeg School Division have been on strike since early September.
Despite the fact that the University of Manitoba has run a $90 million surplus and raised tuition rates, the administration hasn’t budged from its offer of a 0% increase in salaries. This is an unreasonable position and we believe they are being bullied by the provincial government, which controls the majority of the university’s revenue. The government doesn’t want the administration to agree to any salary increase because that would set a precedent for negotiations with other public sector unions. The administration has so far resisted requests to move negotiations into binding arbitration, which has the potential to force a salary increase.
The government has delayed the negotiation of new collective agreements at every turn. For some workers, it has now been several years since they had a current collective agreement.