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CAUT Bulletin Archives

April 2000

Settlement at Moncton

Member solidarity remarkable during difficult strike.

Moncton's faculty and librarians ratified a new agreement on April 6 after five weeks on the picket line. They won a salary increase of just under 15 per cent over four years, starting in July 1999, as well as a commitment to parity with anglophone New Brunswick universities by 2006.

"We have made real progress toward a better contract," said Julien Chiasson, chief negotiator for the Association des bibliothécaires et des professeures et professeurs de l'Université de Moncton (ABPPUM). "We are positioned well for even more gains next time."

"This was one of the half dozen longest strikes in Canadian university history," said Greg Allain, president of ABPPUM. "Our members display-ed remarkable determination and solidarity in the face of incredible pressure from the administration and the government. We are proud that we stood together for 36 days with almost 100 per cent participation from our members throughout."

In the final days of negotiations, the government made known it had back-to-work legislation ready to introduce and had even scheduled a special Saturday sitting of the legislature so that the bill could be passed before April 10.

The faculty association stood firm for its demands nevertheless. In addition to salary, ABPPUM won the right to name members to two vital university committees considering restructuring of the academic program of the university and restructuring of the university's administration.

It also won, for the first time, a professional development reimbursement fund for its members.

Parity with New Brunswick's anglophone universities was accepted in a letter of understanding. It calls for the establishment of a committee to determine how to achieve parity and sets a deadline of no later than June 30, 2006 , for reaching the goal of parity.

ABPPUM also won a change to the structure of the salary scale so that it is similar to the New Brunswick anglophone universities. "This will make it easier to compare the differences and assure that we acutally achieve parity," Chiasson said.

CAUT President Bill Graham complimented the rank-and-file members whose resolve on the line was remarkable in very difficult circumstances.

On several occasions during the strike, CAUT Defence Fund representatives arranged for faculty from across the country to join their Moncton colleagues on the picket lines. "Trustees came from as far west as Winnipeg and as far east as St. John's to show their support, bring greetings and financial assistance from their associations, and walk the picket line with our Moncton colleagues," said defence fund chair, Denise Nevo.

"We found ABPPUM members to be among the most colourful, the most artistic, the most energetic, the most enthusiastic and the noisiest ever met on a picket line."

Leading up to this round of negotiations, Moncton faculty and librarians had had wage increases of 0 per cent, 0 per cent, 0 per cent, 0 per cent, 0 per cent, and 1.5 per cent in the previous six years. At the start of this round of bargaining, the Moncton administration tabled a three-year salary offer of 0 per cent, 0 per cent, and 0 per cent.