Union for U of M faculty authorizes strike vote

University of Manitoba (file image)

A strike could be on the horizon for the University of Manitoba, the province’s largest university.

On Wednesday, the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA), the union representing approximately 1,200 full-time staff at the school, authorized a strike vote as collective agreement negotiations have stalled.

The UMFA said its members want salaries that are more in line with similar institutions in Canada. They also want the hiring, tenure, and promotion processes to be more equitable.

According to the union, the U of M’s staff salaries are some of the lowest in the country, which makes staff recruitment and retention an issue.

It notes that candidates are rejecting job offers and staff members are leaving the university because its salaries are not competitive.

“We want the University of Manitoba to continue being a great university. That means attracting great instructors, professors and librarians, and keeping the talent we have,” said UMFA president Orvie Dingwall in a news release.

“It’s hard to attract new staff and keep existing staff when they can work elsewhere for fewer hours and more money.”

According to the union, Michael Benarroch, president of the U of M, said the wage offer that’s currently on the table has been mandated by the province. The UMFA added that Benarroch hasn’t said who gave the university the mandate or when it was communicated.

The U of M told CTV News it is continuing to meet with the UMFA’s bargaining team in hopes of coming to an agreement.

The strike vote will take place from Oct. 16 to 18, and results will come out the morning of Oct. 19.