Fort  Garry campus quadrangle.

Our goal throughout the collective bargaining period is to ensure our students, our faculty and our staff continue to bring their unique voices to learning and discovery here at UM.

We will approach the negotiations pragmatically with the view to conclude a collective agreement that supports stability in operations; an outstanding educational experience for our students; fairness to our faculty members; and sustainability for our institution.

—Michael Benarroch, UM President and Vice-Chancellor

  • 6

    Unionized employee groups at the University of Manitoba, including UMFA.

  • 03/31/21

    The four-year agreement between the University and UMFA expires. The entire agreement including salary is open for renegotiation.

  • 08/05/21

    Bargaining between the University of Manitoba and UMFA commences.

Bargaining updates

Negotiations continue towards a new collective agreement between the University of Manitoba and University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA). The university believes that collective bargaining is a foundation of good workplace relations while offering opportunity for mutual gains for employers and employees.

Below are brief updates on the topics discussed at each bargaining meeting.

Recent updates

Dec. 3, 2021 - UM and UMFA meeting summary

The university continued to meet with UMFA this week and bargaining is expected to continue over the weekend. Although committed to bargaining in good faith, the university maintains that the best path forward is to accept the mediator's recommendation of moving to arbitration.

Nov. 28, 2021 – UM and UMFA continue talks

Over the weekend, the university and UMFA met in several sessions to discuss key issues. Discussions took place on Saturday and Sunday and will continue on Monday morning.

Nov. 26, 2021 - Status of the University of Manitoba / UMFA collective agreement negotiations

Early this morning, the mediator advised the University of Manitoba and UMFA of his final recommendation to move all outstanding bargaining issues to binding interest arbitration. The university has agreed to accept the mediator’s recommendation.

UM-UMFA mediation final recommendation (PDF)

Nov. 22, 2021 – University outlines its support for arbitration

This weekend, the mediator working with the University of Manitoba and UMFA on negotiating a new collective agreement recommended binding arbitration as the path to resolving the strike and getting students back to class in a timely way.  

“We know that this ongoing work stoppage is detrimental to our entire community, especially our students, and that is why we accept the mediator’s recommendation for moving to binding arbitration. At this time, this is the best path forward to end the strike, get students back to classes and reach a fair collective agreement,” says Michael Benarroch, University of Manitoba President and Vice-Chancellor.  

The university accepted the mediator’s recommendation for binding arbitration for these main reasons:  

  1. It gets students back to into the classroom. Once both parties agree to arbitration, they will conclude a Return-to-Work Agreement as soon as possible and UMFA will terminate the strike.
     
  2. The arbitrator is fully independent.  The arbitrator makes all decisions independently and is not required to comply with any government mandates or direction. 
     
  3. All proposals from both parties will be carefully considered. The mediator has recommended that proposals be considered by the arbitrator on their merits, with a view to achieving a fair and reasonable result for both parties, instead of defaulting to status quo determinations for both monetary and non-monetary issues. 
     
  4. Negotiations can continue to take place. Both parties can continue to bargain and work with the mediator while waiting for arbitration to begin. The arbitrator will consider all issues that remain unresolved at the time of arbitration.  

The university and UMFA have used binding arbitration in the past to reach collective bargaining agreements. 

“We’ve heard from students, the community and many faculty members that we need to work to resolve this strike and resume classes and research support for all students,” says President Benarroch. “We agree with the mediator that binding arbitration is the best course of action to end the strike and settle a fair agreement.”

Nov. 21, 2021 – UM accepts mediator’s recommendation for binding arbitration, UMFA does not

This weekend, the mediator advised the parties of his view that there is no likelihood that the parties will reach a settlement of outstanding differences without a protracted strike continuing. He recommended binding interest arbitration as the best path forward to end the strike and reach a fair collective agreement for UMFA members.

The University of Manitoba accepted mediator Arne Peltz’ recommendation to move to binding arbitration to settle outstanding issues and end the strike. UMFA indicated that they are unwilling to accept the Mediator’s recommendation to refer all outstanding differences to arbitration.

UMFA advised that they would meet to try to come up with a modified version of the recommendation and get back to the parties as soon as they have something.

Nov. 20, 2021 - UM responds to UMFA’s latest offer, asks mediator for advice on next steps

UM has carefully reviewed UMFA’s latest proposal and worked with the union to ensure both parties understand how each offer is costed. There is still significant distance between the offers, both on monetary and non-monetary. With significant distance remaining between the respective offers, the university is asking the mediator for advice on how to move forward to resolve the strike and reach a fair settlement for UMFA members.

Nov. 18, 2021 – UM seeks clarification on counter-offer

The university is working with UMFA to ensure shared understanding of their most recent counter-offer presented on Nov. 16.

Nov. 15, 2021 – UM tables new monetary offer to UMFA

The university presented a new three-year monetary offer to UMFA. The previous proposal was a two-year deal. The new proposal includes a 1.75 per cent General Salary Increase (GSI) in year 3, an increase of a minimum seven per cent to floors and maximas for all ranks and a second batch of targeted market payments aimed at those that were previously receiving only GSIs under the previous proposal. The other elements of the previous offer remain unchanged.  

We’ve updated the recent article explaining the monetary proposal to include this third year.

Nov. 14, 2021 – UM and UMFA meet to discuss cost of proposals and will resume mediation

On Saturday, a small group of University of Manitoba bargaining team members met with UMFA representatives to clarify the numbers and calculations that make up the university’s and UMFA’s monetary offers. UMFA confirmed that the university has calculated the actual cost of the proposals accurately, although there continues to be disagreement on how to report those numbers. 

The university and UMFA will be back at the bargaining table on Monday to continue mediation as they work on a new collective agreement. The university will also be tabling an updated monetary offer.

Nov. 8, 2021 – UM responds to UMFA’s latest offer

The University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) returned to mediation on Nov. 4. UMFA presented a new offer which included higher salary increases than those requested in their previous proposal of October 31. The university sees this as moving further away from agreement and maintains its previous offer presented on Nov. 1.

Background

The university presented a strong offer to UMFA on Nov. 1. The offer fully utilized the mandate determined by the university’s Board of Governors.

Nov. 4, 2021 — UM and UMFA return to mediation

The Mediator has invited both parties back to the table and meetings will resume today. The offer UM presented on Monday is still on the table.

Nov. 1, 2021 – UMFA rejects UM’s latest offer and moves to strike

UM presented UMFA with a strong offer that included a two-year monetary proposal with 5.9 per cent increases from both general salary increases across the board and changes to the salary structure that would increase total salaries an average of 9.5 per cent over two years and substantially increase lifetime earnings of members.

The offer would allow UM to recruit new faculty with more competitive offers, support faculty retention, and ensure faculty wages remain competitive with their U15 counterparts as they advance in their careers.

UM has expressed that it is willing to go back to the bargaining table at any time.

Please note: On Nov. 15, the university presented a revised monetary offer to UMFA that is a three-year deal. Read the details on the offer here.

Past updates

October, 2021

Meeting Update – Oct. 31, 2021 – Bargaining deadline extended

After setting a bargaining deadline for negotiating a new collective agreement of Oct. 31, UMFA has agreed to continue the mediation process on Monday.

Meeting Update – UM and UMFA continue to work on new collective agreement

UM and UMFA continue to work on the collective agreement, and have started the mediation process. There have already been several sessions with the mediator this week and that is expected to continue over the coming days. Given the dynamic nature of the mediation process, we will not be providing updates after each meeting. Instead, we will provide general updates on the process when information is available.

Meeting 18 – Oct. 22, 2021 – UM and UMFA continue to work on language in several articles; UM and UMFA agree to mediation discussions

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, UM and UMFA agreed to enter mediation, with the first session scheduled for Monday, Oct. 25.

The bargaining meeting on October 22 was spent discussing the language related to several articles within the agreement.

On Friday, Oct. 22, UMFA announced a bargaining deadline of Oct. 31 and a potential strike date of Nov. 2.

Meeting 17 – Oct. 20, 2021 – UM proposes a move to mediation

During this meeting, UM proposed a move to mediation after UMFA declined to provide a counter proposal on the university’s Oct. 13 monetary offer. UMFA stated that they will consider mediation and get back to the university’s bargaining team this week. Following the meeting, UMFA confirmed that they agree to mediation.

There is another bargaining session scheduled for Friday and two more next week. In addition, the parties will meet with the mediator starting on Sunday.

Meeting 16 – Oct. 15, 2021 – UM and UMFA continue to work on wording of articles

UMFA opened this meeting by stating that the recent monetary proposal from UM is complicated, but does contain some items of interest.  

To help clarify UM’s recent monetary proposal, the university has launched an online salary calculator to demonstrate what the proposal means for each rank and salary level.  

The rest of the meeting was spent discussing specific articles, including equity, diversity and inclusion, leaves and promotions. UM agreed to renew the Letter of Understanding regarding Intramural Practice and has agreed to UMFA’s preferred language in several articles.

Meeting 15 – Oct. 13, 2021 – UM makes new monetary proposal to UMFA

The University of Manitoba presented a revised monetary proposal, which will make faculty salaries more competitive within the U15 and regional landscape, while providing additional stability for students and staff.

The new proposal is a four-year contract with the following increases:

1 per cent in Year 1,
1 per cent in Year 2,
1.25 per cent in Year 3, and
1.25 per cent in Year 4.  

UM is also proposing significant structural changes for Years 1 and 2, which will see most faculty receive larger increments over a longer period of time to enhance pay-scales for Year 1 and 2.  

This new proposal aligns the salary maximums for assistant and associate professors with the 50th percentile of salaries paid within the U15; while professors will be aligned with the 25th percentile.   This change will also make our salary schedules among the most competitive in the Manitoba/Saskatchewan region. 

Meeting 14 – Oct. 7, 2021 – UM clarifies monetary proposal and both parties continue to work on wording of articles

UMFA kicked off the meeting with questions related to President Michael Benarroch’s statement at Senate, specifically about the UM’s proposal on salary increases. UM clarified its monetary proposal stating that the general salary increase plus proposed restructuring is within the mandate. The market stipends that are included in UM’s monetary proposal are not part of the mandate.  

The bulk of the meeting was then spent discussing language in specific articles, including lengthy dialogue on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).  

There are two more meetings scheduled for the week of Oct. 11, and two the following week.

Meeting 13  –  Oct. 6, 2021 – UM and UMFA dig into the language in articles within collective agreement 

This meeting was largely focused on hammering out language in specific articles and proposals, including Intellectual Property and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). Both the UM bargaining team and UMFA representatives acknowledged that while some progress is being made on certain articles, there is still some distance to cover before a new collective agreement is complete.

There is another meeting scheduled for this week and two in the following week.

Oct. 6, 2021 - UM President responds to bargaining questions at Senate meeting

President Michael Benarroch gave a statement in response to questions about the negotiations underway between the university and UMFA on a new collective agreement. The questions were related to the overall status of negotiations as well as some specifics on proposals being tabled by both parties. A summary of his response is below:

UM received questions at Senate related to current negotiations with UMFA. UM is subject to labour legislation and is limited to what can be publicly discussed. The responses are general statements in response to the questions.

The government has provided a mandate to the university, as it has done for many years for post-secondary institutions in the province.

UM shares the desire to have an institution that attracts the best and the brightest individuals to study here and remain here. UM is committed to making the university a great place to work and on trying to set us on a positive trajectory to be competitive with other U15 institutions.

UM is currently not able to catch up in one round of bargaining given that this was something that occurred over a series of rounds of bargaining. Benarroch stated that inflation was 7.9 per cent from 2016 to 2020, and increases were 1.75 per cent, so UM had fallen behind inflation by about 6per cent.

The university is attempting to improve salaries to the extent of its ability in this round of negotiations. To that end, the university has tabled an offer that has three separate parts, all aimed at improving the situation, including general salary increases, significant structural changes to the collective agreement, and market issues that we heard from several faculties. In addition to the general salary increase offer of 0.75 per cent, 0.75 per cent, and 1 per cent, these structural changes include:

  • increasing the floor and maximum salaries at the junior ranks by 4.5 per cent to closely align with the 50th percentile of the U15 for these ranks;
  • increasing the floor and maximum for the Associate Professor, Senior Instructor, Instructor II, Librarian, and Associate Librarian ranks by 7 per cent so that the maximum at these ranks is closely aligned with the 50th percentile salary of the U15 for these ranks; and
  • increasing the floor and maximum for the Professor rank by 7 per cent so that the maximum is closely aligned with the 25th percentile salary of the U15.

This offer will benefit everyone in UMFA, with:

  • 0.75 per cent, 0.75 per cent and 1.0 per cent general salary increases making up 64 per cent of the monetary offer over the 3-year term, and
  • structural changes averaging an additional 0.47 per cent per year and representing 36 per cent of UM’s financial offer over three years. This will vary and be dependent on the number of people who are currently at the maximum step level getting steps after this change.

All of the funds are within these two numbers, and all are within the government mandate.

Benarroch heard from multiple faculties that market stipends are needed to remain competitive – to attract excellent faculty and to retain them. The proposal on market stipends aims to address the needs expressed by this group of faculties. However, UM has not allocated any funds within the mandate towards the market stipend proposal. The proposal increases the university’s ability to address problem areas but the focus has been to allocate funds to improve the salary situation.

Benarroch agreed that collective bargaining is a process best done between the teams at the table and it involves exchanging proposals. UM made a substantial move last Friday in the spirit of advancing bargaining in a positive direction. He felt that it should be seen as an indication that UM is serious about reaching a settlement at the table.

The university's proposal on outside professional activities, which was raised in one of the questions submitted to Senate, was withdrawn by the university. UM heard UMFA’s issues with outside professional activities and took it off the table. There was also agreement on items such as parental leave benefits being extended to both parents.

“I respect the bargaining process and have confidence in the bargaining teams. I hope the recent moves by the university are taken in the spirit that they were intended,” Benarroch said. “I believe that the university and the Faculty Association bargaining teams should and can continue to work towards finding a settlement for our university.”

Meeting 12 – Oct. 1, 2021 – Negotiations continue between UM and UMFA

UM presented details and clarified questions related to several articles within the collective agreement. 

With respect to UMFA’s proposal on leaves, UM has agreed to provide parental leave top-up for both parents when they are both UMFA members. Based on feedback from UMFA, UM also withdrew its proposal on outside professional activities (OPA) and will continue to rely on deans to remind faculty members about their obligations to avoid and declare any conflicts of interest, ensure any OPA activities are not interfering with their UM duties, and to provide annual reports of their OPAs.

UM continues to wait for responses from UMFA on a number of items including: 

  • General definitions; 
  • Intellectual property (IP) and the ability for UM to own IP in exchange for course release on a voluntary basis; and 
  • Grievance procedures and UM’s proposal to update the agreement to reflect current practice. 

Two more meetings are scheduled for the week of Oct. 4, and two for the following week.

September 2021

Meeting 11 – Sept. 29, 2021 – UM’s financial position and UMFA’s monetary counter offer

UM responded to questions regarding UM’s overall financial position and on the market stipend information in the monetary proposal. UMFA provided a monetary counter proposal and advised that a special general meeting has been scheduled to acquire a strike vote from members.

Meeting 10 – Sept. 24, 2021 – Discussions continue on monetary counter offer

Discussions continued on the UM monetary counter offer.

Meeting 9 – Sept. 22, 2021 – UM discusses financial picture and monetary proposal

Composite Financial Index
The university presented an overview of the Composite Financial Index, which uses four ratios to measure the financial performance and health of institutions. The index was developed in 1999 by Ron Salluzzo and included in the seventh edition of Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education released in 2010.

The University of Manitoba’s financial health has improved over the past seven years and it now meets the minimum threshold for financial health for universities. There aren’t excess resources and there are uncertainties about future revenues (tuition and grant funding) that require the university to continue to be prudent with its finances.

Monetary counter offer
The university offered a counter proposal on salaries that included proposed structural changes to pay scales to make salaries more competitive within U15 and regionally. This counter proposal also included increases in Floor and Maximum to specific ranks and increase to the pool for Market Stipends.

Meeting 8 - Sept. 17, 2021 – UM responds to proposal on childcare

The university stated its position that access to childcare programming should be equitable among all employees and students

Meeting 7 - Sept. 15, 2021 – UM responds to parking proposals

As discussed in the August 5 and August 25 meetings, the university has tabled a proposal for UMFA members to pay the same rate as everyone else on campus. Faculty members currently pay $20 less per month for parking than students and other staff. Under the tabled proposal, UMFA members would pay the same as everyone else. In this meeting, the university explained that a portion of the parking fees be designated to support sustainable transportation initiatives such as the creation of more electric vehicle infrastructure, installing better shelters for bus stops, or a bike sharing program.

Meeting 6 - Sept. 8, 2021 – UMFA presents monetary proposal

UMFA presented rationale to support its monetary proposal, and the university signaled that it will respond to that proposal on Sept. 22, 2021

Meeting 5 - Sept. 3, 2021 – UM presents on equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenous engagement

The university provided explanation regarding on its proposed language changes to the Agreement to align with the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and Indigenous engagement.

August 2021

Meeting 4 - Aug. 31, 2021 – UM presents on outside professional activities

The university’s proposed updates will help to clarify the practice without changing what has been allowed for many years and will help to prevent conflict of interest, perceived conflict of interest, conflict of commitment, and unintended risks for the faculty member and the university

Meeting 3 - Aug. 25, 2021 – UM presents on parking

The university responded to UMFA’s questions on several articles, including the university’s proposal on parking

Meeting 2 - Aug. 17, 2021 – UMFA seeks clarification

UMFA requested responses on the university’s full set of proposals.

Meeting 1 - Aug. 5, 2021 – UM tables full set of proposal

UM tables full set of proposal.

Proposal summaries

Read summaries of the university’s proposals on the following areas:

Monetary/Market Stipends

On Nov. 15, the university presented a revised monetary offer to UMFA that is a three-year deal.

 

Benefits

The university and UMFA have agreed that there be no change to benefits laid out in the current collective agreement; however they will jointly recommend certain changes to benefits

for all employees through the Staff Benefits Committee. The university is able to obtain advantageous and low-benefit premiums by maintaining all its employees in a single group.

Childcare

The university and UMFA agreed to maintain status quo on the childcare provisions within the collective agreement, but agreed to a letter of understanding put forward by the University to create a new family resources position. The university recognizes there is a need to support members to find childcare appropriate to their family’s needs.

Within 30 days of the ratification of the collective agreement, the University will meet with UMFA representatives to solicit feedback on the scope of the new position, the duties and responsibilities of the new position, and the services to be offered by the new position.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigenous Engagement (EDI)

Both the university and UMFA have expressed commitment to adhering to EDI values in negotiations and to have them properly reflected in the language of the final agreement.

The parties agreed to establish a joint committee to review the collective agreement with the view to making recommendations for amendments to the agreement in the next round of bargaining. This is an important issue and the parties recognized that they needed to review the agreement in a more fulsome manner to reach consensus on required changes.

The university remains committed to advancing the principles of EDI and will continue to work with UMFA members on the processes and framework of how that looks.

Intellectual Property (IP)

UM withdrew its proposal on intellectual property to reduce the outstanding issues at the table. The parties have agreed to status quo on this issue.

Outside Professional Activities

The university withdrew its proposal on outside professional activities (OPA) to reduce the outstanding issues at the table.

Parking

The parties agreed to withdraw their respective proposals on parking and increase rates by scale over the course of the agreement, which means that UMFA members will continue to pay 33 per cent or one-third less than students and other University staff.

Research Metrics

Research metrics are quantitative tools used to help assess the quality and impact of scholarly work. The university believes that some quantitative measure should be used in assessment. In the past decade, there have been substantial discussions and advancements in responsible research assessment.

The university remains committed to a comprehensive evaluation of research, scholarly work and creative activities that includes an assessment of quality and quantity, as appropriate to the discipline. UMFA agreed to withdraw its proposal on research metrics and maintain status quo.

About the bargaining process

How collective bargaining works

Collective bargaining is a negotiation process in which a group of workers represented by a union advocate for terms and conditions of their employment. The result of this negotiation is called a collective agreement, which is an employment contract that spells out things such as wages, employee benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. 

The University believes that collective bargaining is a foundation of good workplace relations while offering opportunity for mutual gains for employers and employees. 

Through collective bargaining, the University of Manitoba seeks agreements that are equitable, responsible, sustainable, and support excellence. If a tentative agreement is reached between the University of Manitoba and UMFA bargaining teams, the membership of the union will vote to accept or reject the offer.

Steps in the collective bargaining process

Generally, the steps are as follows: 

  1. Preparation for negotiation 

  2. Identification of issues for bargaining 

  3. Presentation of proposals by both parties  

  4. Negotiation between the bargaining teams 

  5. Presentation of the tentative agreement to the membership 

  6. Ratification of agreement 

  7. Implementation of agreement 

The UM bargaining team

The members of the University of Manitoba bargaining team are: 

Ken Maclean – Chief Negotiator (External to UM)
Dr. Doug Brown – Dean, Faculty of Kinesiology & Recreation Services
Lisa Halket – Director, Staff Relations
Dr. Edward Jurkowski – Dean, Faculty of Music & Acting Dean, School of Art
Dr. Krystyna Koczanski – Associate Dean Student Experience, Faculty of Science
Lisa O’Hara – University Librarian and Vice-Provost, Libraries
Jillian Pearse – Staff Relations Officer, Staff Relations
Dr. Tracey Peter – Vice-Provost, Academic Affairs
Maria Versace – Director, HR Governance and Legal Counsel

Mediation

On Oct. 20, both UM's bargaining team and UMFA representatives agreed to move to mediation as they work towards a new collective agreement. Below is an overview of the mediation process.

Mediation is a process of dispute resolution in which one or more impartial third parties intervene with the consent of the parties and assists them in negotiating a consensual and informed agreement. Mediation is not the same as arbitration, which involves a third party (an arbitrator) making a decision that would be binding on both UMFA and UM.

In mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves. The role of the mediator includes assisting the parties in:

  • defining and clarifying issues
  • reducing obstacles to communication
  • exploring possible solutions to reaching an agreement.

This allows both parties to constructively express differences and to ‘hear each other out’ with the assistance of another party, increasing the likelihood that an an agreement can be reached. Only parties directly involved in the issue are invited to attend the mediation.

Moving to mediation demonstrates a commitment from both sides to do everything possible to reach an agreement at the table. If there is still distance between the two sides after extensive meetings, mediation can help conclude an agreement in a timely and efficient manner.

Mediators do not make any decisions for the parties. They facilitate movement and encourage the parties to find creative solutions. However, the mediator can help the parties draft the written agreement. The parties – in this case UM and UMFA – will control the outcome.

Mediators are trained to remain neutral and act impartially and are not advocates for any party. The length of the mediation process depends upon the number of issues to be discussed and the complexity of those issues.

Arbitration

Agreeing to binding interest arbitration would mean that both an employer and a union (in this case UM and UMFA) who are negotiating a collective bargaining agreement agree to adhere to a resolution put forth by a neutral, third-party arbitrator. That arbitrator would look at the outstanding issues on the table and come up with a contract that they deem to be the best path forward. The Arbitrator's decision is informed by legal principles and made independent of government. Both sides would be bound by the agreement to accept the arbitrator’s decisions.

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