2016 Vote on U of M's Proposal

Q: Will I get to vote on the University’s proposal?
You will only get a chance to vote if UMFA’s leadership accepts the University’s call to allow all faculty members to vote to either approve or decline the latest offer. To date, UMFA's leadership has indicated that they will not send the proposal to the members for a vote. 

Q: What if we vote to approve the University's proposal?
The strike will end, a collective agreement will be reached and faculty members will return to work.

Q : What if we vote to reject the University's proposal?
The strike will continue and the University of Manitoba will continue negotiations with UMFA.

Q: Which University proposal are we voting on?
The proposal being voted on is the one dated November 14, which can be read here

Q: What are the main highlights of this proposal?

  • U of M confirms that research metrics will not be used as a substitute for comprehensive assessment of quality and quantity of a faculty member’s work in the course of evaluative processes, such as tenure and promotion reviews. A new process will ensure faculty members will drive the creation of tenure and promotion criteria.
  • U of M will address teaching workload and assignment by creating new provisions to ensure that teaching assignments are made fairly and appropriately, with collegial input, and that workload is shared in a fair and transparent way. Newly established Faculty-level joint committees will examine issues relating to teaching workload. Also, U of M will create a $1.5 million fund to provide immediate supports for the teaching duties of faculty between now and the end of the 2018 Winter Term.
  • U of M will put immediate administrative supports in place to assist faculty members in completing administrative tasks, including those necessitated by the institution’s travel and expense policies and tools. A $0.5 million fund will support these initiatives.
  • U of M will increase research and travel expense funds by the addition of $500 to all members’ accounts (a nearly a 50 per cent increase).
  • U of M will implement new retirement incentive plan, which will reward faculty members for retiring close to normal retirement age (65) and with as much notice as possible (up to three years). Faculty members will be eligible to receive retirement allowances of as much as $150,000.
  • U of M will provide faculty members with substantial job security. The University will not use “academic reasons” for layoffs, and guarantees a minimum complement of UMFA members. These provisions protect librarians and instructors, as well as professors.
  • U of M is committed to equity and family-friendly policies. Improvements will be made to maternity/parental leave eligibility, and a joint committee will examine gender based salary differentials.

Q: Do all faculty members get to vote on the November 14 proposal or just the members on strike?
All faculty members, whether on strike or at work, are allowed and encouraged to vote.  It is important that the voices of all faculty members be heard in the vote.

Q: Can faculty members on leave vote?
Yes, UMFA should provide a mechanism for faculty members on leave to vote.  Contact UMFA in order to determine how this would work.

Q: How do I know if I’m an UMFA member or not?
All full-time faculty members – all ranks of professors, instructors, librarians – are UMFA members, whether or not you have ever signed up or actively participated in the union.

Q: Does U of M’s offer fully resolve all of the issues identified by UMFA during the negotiation?
The University has provided language to deal with all of UMFA's key issues, including workload, job security, metrics and collegial processes. But these issues are complex and will require our commitment to work together to find comprehensive solutions over the coming years. What the University has offered is an appropriate incremental change which helps support our faculty members in the short term, while allowing for longer term solutions to develop.

Q: Teaching workload seems to be a major issue. Why can’t U of M accept the model used at Queen’s?
When we look across peer institutions, particularly in the U15, there is no school which functions in the manner advocated by UMFA. The UMFA negotiating team has pointed to Queen’s as an example of a more desirable system. Queen’s is an outlier in comparison to other U15 institutions, in that faculty have more control over workload, but even in this exceptional system no arbitration is involved; instead, there is a potential for a deadlock if the Dean and faculty members disagree. Moreover, the Queen’s system is tied to a merit-based pay system, which uses metrics to rank faculty members based on their productivity for the awarding of increments. The improvements offered by the University of Manitoba are more appropriate for our institution, and more consistent with how the majority of peer institutions operate.

Q: If I vote against this proposal, can the U of M bring back one of its earlier proposals?
Unfortunately, no. The combination of UMFA’s rejection of previous offers, UMFA’s insistence on a one year contract and the new mandate from the Government of Manitoba means that the option of a longer term agreement with salary increases is no longer available. The only agreement that can be reached will have a one year term, and will not include a general salary increase.

Q: What is the impact of UMFA’s complaint to the Manitoba Labour Board?
UMFA has filed a complaint with the Manitoba Labour Board, alleging that the University bargained in bad faith in relation to monetary issues. The University has a number of defences to this complaint, and believes it is unfounded. The hearing before the Manitoba Labour Board will not take place for several months, and will have no impact on the current labour disruption.

Q: What is the impact of such a short term agreement?
There are only 4 ½ months left in the period which would be covered by the new one year collective agreement currently under discussion. There is an opportunity for faculty members to accept the incremental improvements proposed, and see if they are effective in addressing their concerns. If they are not, further changes could be requested in the next round of collective bargaining, which could begin almost immediately.


Do you have additional questions? Feel free to email hrfeedback@umanitoba.ca.