U of M faculty union presents new contract offer, says strike could end if university accepts it

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association, the union representing more than 1,200 U of M staff, says it has tabled a new contract offer that could end the current strike if university administrators agree on it.

The union is proposing a three-year agreement that includes two years of two per cent general salary increases and a 2.5 per cent general salary increase in the third year, says a news release issued Thursday.

UMFA is also proposing other adjustments to the contract to address recruitment and retention issues. As well, it asks for the salaries of instructors to be in line with librarians.

“We believe that this represents a fair and reasonable offer based on the University’s healthy financial position, and is an offer that would allow the university administration to end the strike,” said Zach Fleisher, a spokesperson for the union. 

By comparison, the university has offered a two-year agreement that includes a general salary increase of 1.25 per cent in the first year and a general salary increase of 1.5 per cent in the second year. 

The university’s offer also includes changes in the salary structure, amounting to an average increase of 9.5 per cent over two years, the university said.

A spokesperson for the university said their offer still stands and that both parties are resuming meetings with a mediator Thursday. 

The union has been on strike since Tuesday, after negotiations with university administration broke down the day before. 

The UMFA has been fighting for higher wages for its members, arguing that low wages are causing persistent retention and recruitment problems, as the university ranks second to last out of the 15 research-based institutions in terms of salary.

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