University of Manitoba (file image)

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) has voted to authorize strike action amid an ongoing dispute with the U of M administration.

After a three-day voting period over the weekend, the UMFA said 80 per cent of its voting members have approved strike action. A release from the organization said 85 per cent of its membership turned out to vote.

The group is calling for an arbitrator to come in and assist with bargaining.

“It’s time for President Benarroch to do what is best for the University community and agree to neutral, third party interest arbitration, or return to the bargaining table with a reasonable counter-offer” said UMFA president Michael Shaw in a news release.

The UMFA is bargaining for a new salary grid, a modest wage increase for the 2020-21 school year, and extra support for members with dependent care responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The association is also asking that the wage offer that was on the table in 2016, but was later taken off, be restored and that those wages be paid to the workers.

In a statement on Friday, the university said it was open to discussions with the UMFA, and is focused on reaching an agreement at the bargaining table.

The impacts of the global pandemic and other factors have altered our current reality and imposed unique constrictions this year,” the statement reads. “The University remains committed ultimately to bringing UMFA salaries more in line with salaries at peer universities.”

The university said its priority is not to disrupt the learning of its students.

CTV News has reached out to the University of Manitoba for a response.

-With files from CTV's Devon McKendrick