The provincial minister of post-secondary education has appointed a mediator to help get negotiations going again after talks overseen by a provincially appointed conciliator broke down late last month.
Both sides say they’re willing to meet early in the new year with exact dates depending on the availability of the mediator.
Meantime, the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) has scheduled a strike vote for January 21 and 22 unless a tentative agreement is reached before then.
According to MAFA, the university’s refusal to fully replace faculty and librarians who retire or go on leave is a key issue in the contract talks that began in June. A related issue concerns what the union calls the “precarious” position of part-time professors who earn an average of just over $12,000 a year.
A MAFA news release issued earlier this week suggests there can be no agreement unless the university addresses these issues of “understaffing.”
“Mount Allison University is in the enviable position of having no debt and many years of an excess of revenues over expenditures,” the MAFA release says. “Its excellent reputation is held aloft by the steadfast efforts of its academic staff – both full-time and precarious – but this reputation is threatened by understaffing and the slow hollowing-out of the resources necessary to support its academic mission.”
For its part, the university says it considers the full and part-time contracts being negotiated to be longstanding, “mature collective agreements that require minimal change.”
In an update posted online on October 24, the university says MAFA’s bargaining team has proposed many significant changes with 100 still outstanding.
“Of these, there are more than 50 monetary items that the University estimates will cost in excess of $10 million over the life of the contract, which is an amount equivalent to an increase in salary and benefits of over 50 per cent,” the update adds.
To read the university’s bargaining updates, click here.
To read recent posts from the union, click here.