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Labour Relations

Bargaining units

University of Manitoba employees are represented by six unions and their respective collective agreements.

Collective agreements by union


CUPE Local 1482 (Engineering)

CUPE Local 3909 (Students - Unit 1)

CUPE Local 3909 (Sessionals - Unit 2)

UMFA (University of Manitoba Faculty Association)

Unifor Local 3007


Collective agreement

A collective agreement is a written contract negotiated by the University of Manitoba and its unions and regulates the terms and conditions of employment. This includes wages, benefits and duties of an employee and the duties of and responsibilities of UM as an employer.

Collective bargaining

Collective bargaining is the process of negotiation of employment terms between the university and unions with the goal of coming to a collective agreement. Through collective bargaining, UM seeks agreements that are equitable, responsible, and sustainable. 

Strike vote

A strike vote is taken among unionized employees to decide whether they are willing to initiate a strike. If a majority of a union’s members vote to strike, the union is provided with a strike mandate, but this does not mean a strike will happen nor does it mean negotiations will halt. An agreement can be reached at any time after a vote.

Ratification vote

This is the process in which members of the bargaining unit vote to accept or reject the terms of the collective agreement negotiated by the university and a union. When the tentative agreement is approved, it is signed and becomes the new collective agreement.


When an independent third party helps both sides in an attempt to reach a collective agreement.


When an independent third party imposes language on outstanding issues that the parties were not able to resolve through bargaining.


When employees withhold labour to obtain better wages or working conditions.


The withholding of employment by an employer and the whole or partial closing of the workplace to gain concessions from or resist demands of employees.


Collective bargaining

The collective bargaining process is 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

Most collective bargaining concludes without any disruptions, but if the union and employer are unable to reach an agreement, it can lead to mediation, arbitration, a strike or a lockout (see definitions above).

How to receive information about collective bargaining

You can refer this page (Labour Relations) for the latest information.


Recent updates

Past updates

Unifor ratifies revised collective agreement
On Nov. 29, 2022, a revised collective agreement between the University of Manitoba and Unifor was ratified by the Unifor membership.

AESES ratifies revised collective agreement
On April 28, 2022, a revised collective agreement between the University of Manitoba and the Association of Employees Supporting Education Services (AESES) was ratified by AESES membership. 

Arbitrator shares decision with UM and UMFA
President Benarroch committed to stability for students and rebuilding relationships.

November 2021 - March 2022

March 29, 2022: Arbitrator shares decision with UM and UMFA

The binding interest arbitration process between the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) that began on March 11, 2022 has concluded with arbitrator William Kaplan providing his decision. The 22-page award document, which addressed several outstanding issues from the last round of collective bargaining, was shared with both parties on March 28, 2022. 

President and Vice-Chancellor, Michael Benarroch shared the following response: 

“The university fully respects and supports Mr. Kaplan's decisions and thanks him for his ruling. 

I agree with recent comments from UMFA president Orvie Dingwall that we need to provide stability for students and rebuild the relationship between the union and administration.  

We have an opportunity now to reflect on our negotiation process. As we move forward, we must commit to communicate openly, listen to one other, and engage in respectful dialogue.  

I am deeply committed to this and will work with UMFA and university leadership to provide the outstanding work and learning environment that our faculty, staff and students deserve.  

UM is Manitoba’s research-intensive university, and I am pleased to see that this ruling brings UM more in line with the 25th percentile of the U15. This will make us more competitive as we support the economic, cultural and social success of our province and its people.”

March 9, 2022: UM and UMFA begin binding interest arbitration process

On March 11, 2022, the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) will begin binding interest arbitration in relation to outstanding issues from the last round of collective bargaining, including outstanding salary issues and return to work issues.   

In a binding interest arbitration, both parties have agreed to put these outstanding issues to a neutral, third-party arbitrator, who will review each party’s positions and make a final decision that will be binding on both parties. The arbitrator’s decision is made independently and will be informed by the parties’ submissions and legal principles.  

The arbitration proceedings take place on March 11 to 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Please note that recording of either or both of the audio or video of this hearing is strictly prohibited. All forms of Zoom recording have been disabled.

December 7, 2021: UMFA ratifies agreement: classes resume Tuesday

Last night, UMFA members voted to ratify an agreement with the university to enter into binding arbitration. This means the strike has ended and classes will resume today.

More detailed information about classes, exams and student support services will be emailed directly to students.

December 6, 2021: Classes anticipated to resume Tuesday; UM and UMFA reach tentative agreement

Over the weekend, the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) reached a tentative agreement to enter into binding arbitration.  

UMFA Executive will be recommending acceptance of the agreement to its members, who will vote today. Classes are expected to resume Tuesday, December 7 if the agreement is ratified. Take a look at the full story on UM Today.

December 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.

November 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.

November 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)

November 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.”

November 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.

November 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.

November 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.

November 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.

November 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.

November 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.

November 4, 2021: UMFA rejects UM's latest offer and moves to strike

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.

November 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.

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