Citing an “impasse” in its negotiation with the University Administration, the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) has asked the province’s Minister of Labour to appoint a Conciliator.
“Our difficulties in arriving at a new Collective Agreement with the Administration centre on the issues of “quality, equity and respect,” says MAFA spokesperson Roger Wehrell.
Mount Allison professors have been working without a contract since June 30th. “We have signed off on many articles, but we are far apart on the major issues,” Wehrell says.
He says that Mount Allison professors don’t get the respect they deserve, as measured by the fact that the university salary scale is far lower than most small Canadian and Maritime universities. “Mount Allison has the highest budget per student in all of Canada, but the administration is not willing to ensure that our salary scales are competitive, which would demonstrate respect and ensure excellence,” he says.
The two sides are also far apart on the issues of short-term contract positions and hiring faculty. “We believe in full-time faculty committed to research and service as well as teaching, and we are also strongly committed to hiring more women on faculty,” Wehrell says. He says that the university has a poor record on hiring female professors, despite the availability of many excellent candidates.
Under New Brunswick labour law, the Minister appoints a Conciliator to try to bring the two sides together. If the Conciliator cannot do so, the two sides may be in a strike or lockout position later this fall.
Mount Allison faculty went on strike for two weeks in April 1992, and came close to job action in the fall of 1995.
For more information contact: Roger Wehrell @ (506) 364-2329 or (506) 364-2289