Students planning protest at legislature
Students march across campus on Wednesday afternoon during a rally, calling on Mount Allison administration and faculty members to bring an end to the strike. TOWER PHOTO
SACKVILLE, N.B. – A provincially-appointed special outside mediator was unable to help Mount Allison’s administration and full-time and part-time faculty bargaining units reach a tentative agreement.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the university said its renewed offer for the parties to adopt voluntary binding arbitration, which would end the strike and send outstanding issues to arbitration, was again rejected by the faculty association, adding their offer still stands.
The full-time and part-time faculty at the university have been on strike since Jan. 27.
A special outside mediator, appointed by the province, worked with the parties on Wednesday, Feb. 12, and Thursday, Feb. 13, but the parties were unable to come to an agreement.
“This is a very disappointing outcome,” says Karen Grant, Mount Allison’s provost and vice-president academic and research. “Our students have now been out of the classroom for three weeks. We hoped special outside mediation would help the parties achieve a negotiated settlement. As always, our primary focus is getting students back to class as quickly as possible. We now encourage the provincial government to consider intervening by introducing back-to-work legislation. It is imperative that our students not miss any more class time.”
The Mount Allison Students’ Union (MASU) announced this afternoon they plan to bus students to protest at the Legislature in Fredericton on Tuesday, demanding the province act to get students back in class.
MASU president Melissa O’Rourke said today, “The students' union is appalled at the inability of either party to find a compromise and will not tolerate any further disruption to our semester. Students at Mount Allison have been more than accommodating to the collective bargaining process, but cannot afford to do so any longer.”
MASU’s written statement added that they remain willing to change their stance and actions based on changing circumstances, but at this point the students’ union is prepared to call for the provincial government to legislate an end to this strike and send the collective agreement to binding arbitration.
Ryan Harley, MASU vice-president academic, said that after three weeks of cancelled classes and moving into a fourth, “accommodating the remainder of the semester would become very problematic”.
““A fourth week of cancelled classes makes solutions like cancelling reading week, Saturday classes, and extending the semester real possibilities. We need to take action now.”
MAFA representatives could not be reached for comment at this time. They had stated late last week, however, that 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.
The university’s administration says they are currently working to develop scheduling options that would protect the academic year.