Faculty, MUN argue over allegations Strike will drag on until winter break
The president of Memorial University’s faculty association says he’s hopeful about a written proposal that will be tabled at the negotiating table on Thursday, but he wouldn’t be surprised if the process drags on a little longer.
Ash Hossain said morale was still high in the middle of the second week of the picket but the picket believed the strike would continue for two more weeks.
That’s because the week of February 20 is Reading Week at Memorial University, when all classrooms are closed and students and staff are given a break.
“If they can move it to next week, week four is free for them,” Hossain said. “If you can last three weeks, you can last four weeks.”
The move would save the university another week of wages because the faculty members who are on strike will not be paid.
“Four weeks of salary is a lot of money,” Hossain said.
CBC News has requested an interview with a representative from Memorial University, but received no response via publication. However, the university posted the following statement on Twitter:
“It is wrong and misleading that the MUNFA President says as a negotiating tactic that the winter break will continue. The winter break is important for students and instructors whose courses are continuing. We provided this information on February 2nd to allow time to plan for this semester break.”
Some positive signs on three key issues, says Hossain
Hossain said the written proposal submitted Thursday could have been made earlier if the university had asked for it. He said they met on Tuesday to resume talks but there had been no real negotiations. They resumed negotiations for less than two hours on Wednesday, when the university asked for the faculty association’s written proposal, he said.
“You could have asked us for a written proposal on Tuesday, so we probably could have delivered it yesterday,” he said.
There are still three problems in the negotiations:
Improved job security for precarious members through “strong language to create a path to permanence for those who [have been] to work long.”
post-retirement healthcare benefits.
Collegial leadership, with a definition in the collective agreement.
Hossain said the university has been stubborn on these “very simple issues,” but “this week they seem to be talking about our policy issues, so that’s a positive sign.”
He said his association is willing to work with the university to shape those requests if they are willing to follow them up, particularly on language related to job security and collegial leadership.
“We have a definition. If you don’t like our definition, just suggest an alternative,” he said.
Both sides came back to the table at 9:30 on Thursday.
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