Negotiations between university, professors set to resume on Monday

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SACKVILLE, N.B. – Negotiations between Mount Allison University and its faculty will get back under way on Monday.

The negotiating teams for both the administration and the faculty association will meet with the provincially-appointed mediation officer on Jan. 20 to resume the collective bargaining process.

This news comes several days after the full-time and part-time faculty at Mount A voted 86 per cent in support of strike action, if it is needed.

Karen Grant, vice-president of academic and research at the university, said on Wednesday that both parties were in communication with the mediation officer following the strike vote to schedule a date to get back to negotiations.

“He’s working with the two teams to bring them back to the table and work towards reaching an agreeable settlement,” said Grant.

She said both sides want to negotiate and neither wants a strike to happen.

“We’re certainly hopeful we can find a resolution and avoid a disruption of classes.”

Loralea Michaelis, president of the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA), said earlier this week that the faculty was hopeful the strike vote result would prompt the administration to return to the bargaining table to resolve all outstanding matters.

“Our members are preparing to do what it takes to ensure protection for academic freedom and to secure adequate resources so that we can continue to provide the high quality of scholarship and teaching that our students expect and deserve,” said Michaelis.

The association represents approximately 159 full-time and 53 part-time academic staff, including professors, librarians and archivists.

Salary, pension, and benefits remain areas of disagreement, but MAFA states the key differences concern workload and the control that faculty have over their own teaching and research.

MAFA contends that full-time faculty hiring at Mount Allison has not kept pace with rising student enrollments over the last decade, with the result that faculty are experiencing heavier workloads.

University administration, however, argues that the “set of key proposals” they have put on the table will help improve efficiencies and streamline processes, thereby reducing faculty workload.

Enhancements to both salary and pension have been put on the table, according to the university’s negotiations website, which would provide salary increases of 1 per cent, 1.25 per cent, 1.5 per cent and 1.75 per cent over four years.

Contract negotiations have been ongoing since last July.

 

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Mount Allison Faculty Association

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