PALLISTER GOVERNMENT DIRECTED UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA TO COMMIT UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICE, LEADING TO 21 DAY FACULTY STRIKE

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

MFL News

(WINNIPEG) The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) is pleased with a ruling from the Manitoba Labour Board that has determined the University of Manitoba acted unfairly in bargaining during the fall of 2016. By following secretive directives from the Pallister government, the University of Manitoba was found by the Labour Board to have acted illegally and has been ordered to pay up to $2.4 million in damages and issue a formal apology for its actions, UMFA president Janet Morrill announced today.

"We came to the table prepared to work out a fair deal that focused on providing the best possible education to University of Manitoba students,” said Morrill. “Instead of bargaining fairly with us, the University followed the Pallister government’s orders and forced faculty out on the picket lines, disrupted student schedules and postponed exams.”

“Our members are dedicated to the students of this university and are always striving to maintain a high standard of education,” she said. “After the strike, professors put in their own time, essentially working for free, to ensure that each and every student was able to complete courses that were disrupted due to the strike.”

Morrill added that it is clear from the ruling that the University’s unfair actions, at the direction of the Pallister government, led to the 21-day faculty strike.

“I stood on the picket lines with faculty for weeks knowing full well my graduation was at stake,” said Niall Harney, a recent graduate of the University of Manitoba and student at the time of the strike. “I believe the top priority for universities should always be the time students and faculty share in the classroom. The government and university need to take this seriously and invest in our faculty.”

Also present at today’s announcement were other members of the Partnership to Defend Public Services. Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour echoed Morrill’s statements, calling the ruling “a win for every Manitoban.”

“These are crucial services that we all depend on, and we will not stand for government interference when it comes to protecting them,” he said. “It is clear from this decision that the Pallister government wanted a strike to happen, and that the disruption that faculty and students experienced was a direct result of this government’s actions.”

 “While the Pallister government continues to bully and scheme their way to gutting our public services,  our promise to Manitobans is that we will continue to hold them accountable.”   

Rebeck noted that the Partnership to Defend Public Services has taken the Pallister government to court to seek an injunction against the so-called Public Service Sustainability Act, which undermines Manitobans’ Charter right to collective bargaining. The hearings begin on May 29.

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