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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 2002

Dalhousie Profs on Strike

Members of the Dalhousie Faculty Association went on strike March 4, saying the university left them no alternative. Andrew Wainwright, Dalhousie Faculty Association president, said "We were hoping to avoid another strike at Dalhousie. The association pursued all avenues to bargain and reach a negotiated settlement. Yet we remain seriously apart after six months of attempted negotiations and 35 meetings through the fall and early winter."

Talks broke off late last month, in the presence of a provincial conciliator.

"We presented a revised package to the board on Feb. 21, in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement, and this package was rejected outright by the board with no counter-offer provided," Wainwright said.

He said the employer's most recent offer dates from Nov. 23 and includes a 7.2 per cent salary increase over three years, an offer Wainwright says was subsequently rejected by the November strike vote.

"The board refused to meet the DFA part way and is clearly not interested in reaching a settlement at the table," Wainwright said. "The university's salary offer will leave us where we are now - in ninth place on the comparator list with 10 other universities." The faculty association is seeking a wage increase of 10.8 per cent.

The association also seeks assurances on faculty replacement. "The DFA wants replacement of full-time faculty who leave the university during the life of the contract," Wainwright said. "Replacement won't cost the university any more money than it is already spending. In fact, the cost of replacing senior with junior faculty would be less."

He said the board wants control of the complement issue. "They want to be free to let the numbers of full-time academic staff decline while more and more low-paid, part-time people are hired."

DFA is also seeking improvements in articles on discrimination, bargaining unit composition, tenure, parental leave, workload, counsellor-student ratio, mandatory retirement and technology-assisted classes.

The CAUT Defence Fund is assisting the 772 professors, librarians and counsellors with the payment of strike benefits, strike support from faculty across the country, a loan to maintain insured benefits and a $1 million line of credit.