Labour

Deadline looming for MSVU, faculty union to make a deal

If an agreement isn’t reached, MSVUFA vows to strike on Jan. 7

Faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University plan to walk off the job in the new year, if a last-minute meeting doesn’t result in a deal.

The Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association and the university are scheduled to return to conciliation one last time on Jan. 2. If an agreement isn’t reached, full-time faculty, librarians and lab instructors say they’ll strike on Jan. 7, the day students return for the winter semester.

“We are disappointed that the Employer has failed to respond to our concerns about workload, leaves and total compensation,” MSVUFA president Robert Farmer said in a statement on Nov. 28.

More than 4,000 students will be affected if a deal is not struck. MSVU’s student union is planning to hold a solidarity march on Thursday in support of the MSVUFA.

Brian Jessop, vice-president administration for MSVU, said students should plan to return to classes and work co-ops. However, if faculty strikes, classes taught by full-time faculty could be cancelled for the winter semester.

“We will do all we can to minimize the impact on students,” he said in a statement.

Jessop said the university tried to address issues, such as increased compensation, retirement benefits, leaves and workload stipends. In its statement, the MSVUFA said the university “was not prepared to shift its position and did not provide a counter offer” to its offer.

MSVUFA represents 144 members. They are asking for better compensation, retirement benefits and support and workload management for caregivers and victims of domestic violence.

The two parties have been in negotiations since June. On Nov. 6, the MSVUFA announced that 94 per cent of its voting members voted in favour of striking if conciliation talks failed.

MSVU and MSVUFA met with a conciliator on Nov. 7, 9 and 14. Nov. 22 was the last day both parties negotiated for the year.

“We are disappointed that a deal was not reached that day, but we remain committed to the collective bargaining process, and believe in fair outcomes that meet the needs of both parties,” Jessop said.

The MSVUFA and the university have met with a conciliator five times since 2003 during contract disputes. All of these ended in a settlement.