The Canadian Federation of Students stands in solidarity with over 1,200 full-time professors, librarians, lecturers, and instructors from the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) who are striking against failed bargaining negotiations with their employer, unfair labour practices, and unconstitutional wage freezes.UMFA has been joined by grassroots community groups such as Students Supporting UMFA (SSUMFA), demanding fair compensation for faculty and staff members of the University.
“We know that we are able to accomplish so much more when students and workers stand united. The Canadian Federation of Students has always been a strong advocate for accessible and high quality education, none of which would be possible without the faculty and staff. When free and fair collective bargaining is denied, everyone loses.” — Alannah Mckay, National Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students
The Federation is calling on the Government of Manitoba to end the mandate being imposed on the University of Manitoba and for the government to end their ongoing interference in UMFA negotiations with their employer. We also call on the University to come to the table immediately and agree to a just settlement of monetary and monetary issues so students and UMFA members can return to classes immediately. The Federation calls on president Benarroch of the University of Manitoba to continue bargaining in good faith with faculty and staff. Faculty at the University of Manitoba has the second-lowest average salaries among the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, which functions as a disadvantage to their ability to stay in-province to teach or supervise students that conduct research. Despite UofM reporting a $94 million dollar surplus last year, the proposed salary increases from the University of Manitoba administration remain lower than inflation, resulting in a loss of wages for many skilled faculty and staff across the campus.
Lack of investments in quality education and chronic underfunding has led to an increased reliance on tuition fees from students while lowering wages for faculty and staff who assume more responsibility. This alarming trend is happening across Canada as escalating tuition fees undermine access to post-secondary education for low-income and equity-seeking students, including those who are disabled, racialized, first-generation, and students with dependents. With the looming effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising cost of living, and decades of underfunding post-secondary education, it’s never been more important for policymakers to support students and faculty and stay out of internal negotiation processes.
Together we know that change is possible. Faculty and administration deserve fair and sustainable wages, ethical working conditions, and the right to collectively bargain without political or governmental interference. The 500,000 students across 63 student unions that make up the Canadian Federation of Students stand in solidarity with the UMFA.