Mount Allison Academic Staff applies for conciliation
The Mount Allison Faculty Association, which is the certified bargaining agent for almost 200 full-time and part-time faculty and librarians at Mount Allison University, recently applied to the provincial Department of Labour for conciliation.
“Our negotiating team met with the Employer team 23 times over a month from late May to late June,” says MAFA President Rick Hudson. “Normally after 23 meetings we are close to an agreement but we are nowhere near an agreement at this time,” he says.
In cases where it is difficult to get agreement in collective bargaining, a provincial Conciliation Officer is often helpful in bringing the two sides together.
“Negotiations will resume in August with a conciliator present, we expect, and we are optimistic,” Hudson says. He also noted that it is not unusual for a conciliator to be called in for negotiations between Mount Allison academic staff and the Sackville institution. In the past two negotiations agreement was reached in conciliation, but in the 1990s Mount Allison experienced two faculty strikes.
Hudson also expressed concern about the recent pattern in which Premier Graham’s government has imposed Conciliation Boards in the university sector after conciliation has ended. “Conciliation Boards cause delays in arriving at a settlement. Their use is very unusual outside the public service, and we see it as an attack on both university autonomy and free collective bargaining,” he says.
“Our members want a fair agreement and we see no reason why the process should drag on for months and months,” Hudson says.