Mount Allison professors and professional librarians voted overwhelmingly on Monday, November 23rd to back their Executive and Negotiating Team in their troubled relations with the university administration.
Ninety-five percent (95%) of the 91 members of the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) who voted resolved that they are willing to take job action, including striking, in support of MAFA’s contract demands. Seventy three (73) members attended a meeting late Monday afternoon where a secret ballot was held. Eighteen (18) professors and librarians unable to attend the meeting voted by e-mail.
“This vote signals that claims by Mount Allison President, Ian Newbould, that the negotiations have been “taken over by a small rump of people” are false,” says MAFA spokesperson Roger Wehrell.
“We have met 35 times with the administration since our old Contract expired, and our members are very unhappy with the administration’s refusal to move on the major issues,” Wehrell says.
Wehrell believes that the vote will send a strong signal to the Administration and the Board of Regents. “Our members know that salaries, working conditions and the hiring process are better at other universities within the Macleans grouping of primarily undergraduate universities, and they want Mount Allison to join the mainstream,” Wehrell says.
Wehrell says the outstanding issues are described by the words “quality, equity and respect,” and buttons to this effect have appeared on campus this week.
“We have had very little improvement in this Collective Agreement in the last seven or eight years, and there’s a lot of pent-up demand,” Wehrell says. Wehrell says that the situation is aggravated by the fact that administrations elsewhere, including those at other Maritime universities, have done what they can to address their faculty’s concerns after many years of salary freezes and modest increases.
“It’s hard for us to see how Mount Allison will maintain its sterling reputation unless it starts to address seriously the concerns of its faculty and librarians,” Wehrell says.
The MAFA and Employer negotiating teams will meet with a Department of Labour conciliator the week of November 30th. If the Conciliator cannot bring the Parties together, the two sides may be in a legal strike or lockout position late in December or early in the new year.
The university faculty and librarians 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