Faculty and staff FAQ
The University of Manitoba continues to work with the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) to conclude a collective agreement. We have prepared the following communication to address commonly asked questions from faculty and staff, at all levels, regarding strike preparation.
Will all academic staff be on strike?
No, only those individuals who are members of UMFA and choose to participate would be on strike. Many academic staff are not members of UMFA, including sessional appointees, teaching assistants and certain members of the Max Rady College of Medicine. These individuals would continue with academic duties. All non-UMFA employees (administrative, support and managerial) would report to work as usual.
Are non-UMFA staff expected to work during the strike?
Yes, all non-UMFA employees (including members of other unions) are expected to report to work.
What happens to teaching assistants, grade markers, demonstrators, tutors, or seminar leaders? What happens to student lecturers/instructors?
Student employees should contact their faculty/college/school/department office to determine their activities. Student lecturers/instructors must continue teaching their courses.
Who will supervise a research team and/or oversee laboratory facilities if the supervisor is an UMFA member on strike?
The Dean/Director or his/her designate or, in the case of hospital-based research institutes, the research director.
What happens if non-UMFA staff cross picket lines?
You have every right to cross the picket lines to attend work or to access any university service you wish. Please exercise patience and caution in crossing picket lines. All parties, including employees on strike and individuals crossing picket lines, are responsible for refraining from illegal behaviour. If you experience problems or are involved in an incident while crossing the picket line please report this to University Security Services (204-474-9312).
If students have questions about their courses, mid-terms, financial aid, etc., what should I tell them?
FAQs have been developed to address the most common concerns among students, please direct all inquiries to the strike information website.
Is it possible to submit my Human Ethics protocol during the strike?
Yes, faculty and students may continue to submit their Human Ethics protocols to REB1 or REB2 (Fort Garry), or to BREB or HREB (Bannatyne).
Will my ethics protocol still be reviewed during the strike?
During the strike, protocols submitted to REB1 or REB2 (Fort Garry) will experience delays in approvals because protocols cannot be sent out for review. However, please continue to submit protocols to the Human Ethics Fort Garry Office so your application is in the queue, as well as that the Human Ethics Fort Garry Office will conduct a pre-review of submissions and send feedback. REB1 or REB2 (Fort Garry) reviews and approvals will resume as soon as the strike has ended. We do not expect significant delays due to the strike for protocols submitted to BREB or HREB (Bannatyne).
Information for UMFA staff
Do all UMFA members have to go on strike?
No. Faculty members are entitled to decide whether they wish to work or to participate in the strike. If a faculty member wishes to continue to work, they will complete a Notification of Intention to Continue All Employment form (PDF) declaring their intention. Forms should be completed in a timely way, in accordance with the instructions, in order to ensure that payroll is processed on time. Forms will not be accepted until a strike has commenced. UMFA members on research/study leave are considered to be on strike unless they submit an Intent to Work form.
Does an UMFA member on strike have liability insurance?
UMFA members do not have university liability insurance coverage while engaging in strike related activities. However, they do have university liability insurance coverage while engaging in their normal duties (e.g., teaching, research, clinical, counselling activities). If these duties normally take place on university property, for example teaching, these duties must continue to take place on university property in order for university liability insurance to continue to apply. Also, if there is a legal agreement in place for the activity in question to be held off site that addresses matters such as liability, indemnity and insurance, no coverage is otherwise provided.
Will pension and benefits be affected for UMFA members on strike?
Yes. For the pension plan, UMFA members on strike will receive no credited service nor contributions towards their pension plan while they remain on strike. UMFA has elected to pay both the employer and employee benefit premiums while their members are on strike, so coverage will continue for group life insurance, long term disability, accidental death and dismemberment, optional dependent life insurance, dental plan, supplementary health plan, health care spending account, and the employee assistance program.
Are there other implications for UMFA members on strike?
Yes. For example, research/study leave credit accrual and future top-up for maternity and parental leaves are dependent on continuous services, which will be interrupted for an UMFA member on strike. Maximum untenured periods may also be affected, since lapses in service are not included in the calculation.
What happens to an UMFA member who is currently on an approved sick leave, maternity/parental leave, or long term disability?
UMFA members will not be affected by strike action if they are on an approved sick leave, maternity/parental leave, or long term disability that bridges the term of the strike. In particular, they will continue to receive maternity/parental leave top-up or disability payments. If the period of leave or disability should expire during the strike and the UMFA member intends to continue with academic duties, they must submit a Notification of Intention to Continue All Employment form (PDF).
What happens if an UMFA member on strike has an additional appointment?
In most cases, an UMFA member will be on strike from all work unless they complete the Notification of Intention to Continue All Employment form (PDF) and indicate that they are performing all of their duties. Please contact Human Resources with any questions.
What happens to UMFA members currently on research/study leave who choose not to strike?
UMFA members currently on research/study leave who choose not to strike (they continue with planned leave activities), must submit a completed Notification of Intention to Continue All Employment form (PDF) to ensure they are paid appropriately and retain all insurance coverage and pension participation. If it is not possible to communicate with an individual who is away on research/study leave, the Dean may submit the Notification on their behalf. UMFA members on research/study leave are considered to be on strike unless they submit an Intent to Work form.
If an UMFA member continued to work, would they conduct classes and exams as scheduled?
Yes. UMFA members not participating in the strike would continue with their classes, both remote delivery and in person, exams, and other academic requirements as usual. If teaching in a multi-section course, they should contact the Dean's office for further information.
Does the university continue to pay UMFA members while they are on strike?
No, for days during which UMFA members are on strike, only members who complete the Notification of Intention to Continue all Normal Duties form and have returned to work will receive their standard compensation, staff benefits and pension contributions. The University will not provide back-pay or make pension contributions for members who have withdrawn their labour during the strike.
Changes to the Academic Schedule
What is happening with the academic schedule?
The academic schedule will be revised as a result of the strike. The extent of the revisions will depend on when an agreement is reached between UMFA and the UM. Senate Executive has approved four scenarios on timing for resumption of work.
What would the academic schedule be under scenario one?
Scenario 1 was if teaching resumed on or before November 15, 2021.
What would the academic schedule be under scenario two?
Scenario 2 was if teaching resumed on or before November 23.
What would the academic schedule be under scenario three?
Scenario 3 was if teaching resumed on or before November 30.
What would the academic schedule be under scenario four?
- Teaching resumes from between December 1, 2021 and, up to and including, December 7, 2021.
- The last instructional day of fall term, December 10, 2021 remains unchanged for continuing classes.
- Interrupted classes will have instructional days up until the start of the winter break on December 24, 2022. Classes will resume January 5, 2022, and the last instructional day will be January 19, 2022.
- The voluntary withdrawal (VW) date will move to December 10, 2021 for continuing classes, and December 21, 2021 for interrupted classes.
- The original exam period, December 11 to 23, 2021, will continue as is for continuing courses that are not disrupted by the strike.
- The dates of the alternate exam period will be January 21 to 23, 2022, inclusive. All courses interrupted by the strike will have their exams re-scheduled to occur during this alternate period.
- The final grade appeal deadline will be moved to February 11, 2022, for all classes, continuing and interrupted.
- The start of Winter Term 2022 will be January 24, 2022, and the last instructional day would be April 20.
- The winter term break (Reading Week) would be reduced from a four-day break (February 22-25) to a one-day break (February 22). The winter term exam period (April 21-May 1, 2022) would proceed as scheduled to prevent delays in the start of the Summer Term 2022 and to minimize the impact on graduation and on admission and registration timelines for the Fall Term 2022.
- The VW date is to be moved to February 4, 2022 for fall/winter term spanned courses and to April 1, 2022 for winter term courses.
Why does scenario four impact the Winter Term break?
In scenario 4, the start of winter term will be delayed by seven days. To maintain the number of instructional days and instructional contact hours, it is necessary to capture additional days. This was accomplished, in part, by reducing the winter term break (Reading Week) to an extended long weekend. This is not ideal, but the alternative of extending the end of the winter term further into May creates many more significant issues: it would jeopardize students’ ability to graduate on time; it would impact students’ ability to complete courses on time that are required to meet application deadlines for advanced entry, after degree, or graduate programs including those at institutions other than UM; and would impact summer employment commitments for students who rely on summer income to pay for their education.
When can tests and assignments be given upon the restart of classes?
When striking UMFA members resume teaching, no assignments will be due or exams held in interrupted courses within 72 hours of the first teaching session. This is to reduce any undue anxiety or hardship for students impacted by the strike.
What happens if students have conflicts with interrupted classes and continuing course exams?
The university recognizes that some students will have ongoing classes during the exam period in December and is working to ensure that academic unit heads and academic staff do not disadvantage students with respect to any missed classes, materials, assignments/tests when there is a scheduling conflict between a class and an exam. We recommend that if a schedule conflict arises, that students discuss this with their instructor.
Why do courses have minimum instructional hours? Why can't we just absorb that time that was missed and finish all courses on Dec 10 as planned?
To maintain the integrity of the university’s courses and programs, and to ensure requirements for accreditation, the number of instructional days should remain at sixty-one where at all possible. Courses have minimum instructional hours determined by units and approved by the university Senate. Instructors carefully craft their courses to meet these requirements. It is important that instructors are provided with sufficient time to teach students and facilitate learning. All students have sufficient time to successfully learn the content in courses and compete the required assessments of their learning. Students must be insured that the original learning goals or outcomes for the courses and programs are met. If this does not occur, students may not be prepared for follow-on courses that have prerequisite requirements or have the necessary knowledge to progress effectively and safely to placements or other academic activities including laboratories. Also, some programs have strict minimum contact hours that are stipulated within national accreditation standards. If these standards are not met, programs can lose accreditation and students may be ineligible to meet professional standards for practice in the profession. Lastly, there is generally agreed to understanding of what constitutes a 3 credit hour course across institutions in Canada and more broadly. If the number of teaching hours is altered, there is a potential that other institutions may not accept the course or program from UM. This could have significant consequences for student course credits or even degree(s), when applying to enter other programs or seeking some types of employment.