Faculty and librarians at Mount Allison University began their strike on Monday, February 3 following months of attempted negotiations between the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) and the university’s bargaining teams.
According to Mount Allison’s official website, in May 2019, the MAFA proposed negotiations of new collective agreements for both the full-time and part-time bargaining units. By August 9, the teams had met 15 times with little progress. Both teams agreed to submit an application to the Minister of Post Secondary Education, Training and Labour to appoint a conciliation officer to assist in future negotiations. On August 20, this application was approved. The bargaining teams continued to negotiate throughout the fall term on issues including the university’s proposal on removing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for sabbatical replacement formula, and their proposed changes to the sick leave provision.
On January 7, 2020, the university presented a comprehensive offer to the MAFA team. In this offer, they addressed issues of interest to both parties while focusing on the academic mission of the university; long-term financial sustainability, and the interests of stakeholders, students, staff and the province of New Brunswick.
Bargaining continued throughout January, and on January 31 the MAFA team informed the university that it had set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on February 3 for full-time and part-time faculty if a tentative agreement could not be reached by that time.
An agreement was not been reached by the deadline, and Mount Allison faculty and librarians began their strike on Monday.
What does this mean for students?
All classes, labs, tutorials, and seminars are cancelled until further notice. According to the Students’ Union, they will continue to operate during their regular hours, and all services including health and dental, clubs and societies will continue to operate in their normal capacity. There will be pickets at the entrances to the university, but they will be peaceful and will not prevent access to the university grounds. There will be designated areas on campus to enter or leave campus without having to cross a picket line.
All buildings and offices including residences, the library, the athletic centre, the registrar’s office, and administrative offices will remain open during their normal hours.
For more information on how the strike may affect students, please visit the Mount Allison Students’ Union website.
What students had to say
All students were notified of the strike through emails from university president Jean-Paul Boudreau and have been kept up to date via email from university administrators.
After speaking to several Mount Allison students, it seems the reaction to the strike is mixed.
One student explained that some students are worried about how long the strike will last and how it will affect their semester, while others are welcoming the break from classes.
Another student explained that the strike has raised concerns about where their tuition fees are going and is hopeful that the university will compensate students for the length and impact of the strike.
The Mount Allison Students’ Union expressed in their Student Strike FAQ that they will be advocating for students to receive a tuition rebate pending the duration of the strike.