The Mount Allison Faculty Association has been on strike since Jan. 27.
SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) and university administration reached another impasse in negotiations yesterday.
The university issued a statement late Friday that said in an effort to see a return to classes for its 2,400 students they had proposed binding arbitration as a means to resolve their differences, adding, however, that MAFA had rejected idea.
The strike continues and classes remain suspended until further notice.
MAFA also issued a statement yesterday, saying they were calling for a special mediator to assist with negotiations in an effort to end the labour dispute, usually someone from outside the province, which helped in the recent UNB dispute.
Mount Allison faculty and librarians have been on strike since Jan. 27. After three days of meetings held this week the parties were unable to break the impasse.
“We had hoped that the administration would be ready to negotiate with us,” said MAFA president Loralea Michaelis.
Michaelis added the administration had not altered its bargaining position since the strike began two weeks ago.
“MAFA made significant moves to find a way through to a settlement, but we got nothing back from them,” she alleged.
Karen Grant, the university’s provost and vice-president, academic and research, said, “We are extremely disappointed with this development. Our primary goal is to achieve a new collective agreement and to get students back to class as soon as possible. After more than seven months of negotiations, it is apparent that some further step must be taken for the parties to come to an agreement. Binding arbitration would have resulted in an agreement and, most importantly, students would not have missed any more class time.”
The university administration proposed the establishment of an arbitration board, with one member appointed by the university, one by the faculty association, and a chair chosen by both parties.
All items already agreed upon would have become part of the new collective agreement, while all outstanding issues would have been submitted to the arbitration board using a final offer selection of process. This process has been used successfully at a number of other Canadian universities, according to the administration.
Michaelis said, "MAFA believes in free collective bargaining. The best collective agreements are reached at the bargaining table, by negotiating.”
Grant said, “Our students have now been out of class for two weeks. A resolution to this impasse must be found sooner rather than later.”