Brandon strikers must vote on contract

Minister takes “extraordinary” step


Manitoba’s labour minister has ordered striking professors to vote on the latest contract offer from Brandon University’s administrators. A strike at the small prairie school has killed classes for six weeks now. If a majority vote “yes,” professors will go back to work almost immediately.

“I have reviewed the circumstances of the dispute and the negative effect of the work stoppage on the students of Brandon University and the city of Brandon,” Labour Minister Jennifer Howard wrote in a letter to university president Deborah Poff and BUFA president Joe Dolecki yesterday. “I am of the opinion that a vote of the employees in (BUFA) to accept or reject the last offer of the employer, respecting all matters remaining in dispute between the parties, is in the public interest.”

The vote is expected later this week. The parties were close to a deal last week. The university offered raises of nine per cent raise over four years, plus an $1,800 back-to-work bonus. BUFA wants 10 per cent over four years, plus $3,000 for each member who goes back to work.

The reason Brandon professors have gone on strike for the second time in three years is that they feel they’re underpaid. Associate professors average $89,000, which is less than the $106,000 nationwide. Still, salaries are very similar to those paid at similar small schools like Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont.

Click here to read an opinion piece on what professors should be paid.

Check back later for a report on how the strike is affecting students, by blogger Sarah Petz.


Brandon strikers must vote on contract


  2. Regarding your comment:

    “The reason Brandon professors have gone on strike for the second time in three years is that they feel they’re underpaid.”

    Please do not make this all about money. That is one issue in this situation.

    The facts are:

    BU Administration presented 80 (EIGHTY) pages of revisions to the 135 pages in the Collective agreement – calling it “housekeeping items”.

    BU Administration hired a known anti-union lawyer, Grant Mitchell, to negotiate on their behalf.

    BU Administration and said lawyer were rarely available to negotiate between January and September 2011. They did not make any movement on their position until AFTER BUFA members voted in favour of strike action.

    BU Administration has actively encouraged BUFA members to cross the picket lines.

    BU Administration would not guarantee that students who chose not to cross the picket line, would not be penalized academically.

    BU Administration presents offers of a “all or nothing” kind.

    There are so many issues that are outstanding in the Brandon University Faculty Association strike. It is very disheartening to see that the public (and media) have chosen to vilify the faculty members as “greedy” and completely at fault in this matter.

    Check all the facts, before meting out judgement. They are readily available if you chose to look. The BUFA website has alot of information on the strike.

    However, for those of you who only wish to look at the surface, keep your uninformed opinions to yourself instead of poisoning the public with half truths.

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