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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 2000

Moncton Faculty & Librarians Take to the Picket Line

Moncton's librarians and professors went on strike Mar. 2, for the first time in the history of the university.

The central issue is salaries. The 300 striking members of the Association des bibliothécaires, des professeures et professeurs de l'Université de Moncton, who have been without a contract since June 1999, are seeking wage parity with their provincial counterparts. The salary difference is about 20 per cent, said ABPPUM president Greg Allain, and "considerable salary increases are in order."

Allain said the salary settlement reached during the last round of bargaining four years ago was hardly enough to cover the increase in the cost of living. "In our last contract, annual salary increases were 0 per cent, 0 per cent, 0 per cent and 1.5 per cent. The francophones and Acadians of New Brunswick deserve a first-rate university, but, given the uncompetitive salaries offered by our institution, it has become more and more difficult to replace retiring professors."

While faculty have stated that low wage rates are the major catalyst for the strike, Allain said ABPPUM also wants agreement on working conditions. "This is not just a strike about salaries. Workload, research assistance, and governance are all important unresolved non-monetary issues." The association is asking for a consultative-style management that would allow it to have a say in matters that affect the future of the institution.

On the picket lines the mood is jubilant. "The strike itself is going on without a hitch," said Allain. "The members are doing a great job, and morale is very high."

At press time, talks between the university and the professors had broken off. "In the space of a six minute meeting, the administration rejected our latest counter proposal," Alain said.

The CAUT Defence Fund trustees have authorized strike benefits, a loan to cover insured benefits, and a line of credit of $1 million.

Moral and financial support from colleagues across the country is pouring in and CAUT has pledged whatever support is necessary. "Our spirits are buoyed by the show of support and solidarity from our faculty colleagues," said Allain. "It helps make us stronger and more determined to fight as long as we have to in order to achieve fairness and respect."