Faculty at Brandon back on the job
By Becky Somerville
Faculty members at Brandon University in Manitoba who walked off the job this week returned to work yesterday morning after a night of lengthy negotiations with administration.
The Brandon University Faculty Association opted to strike Monday morning when talks with a conciliator failed. Both sides agreed to seek the service of a mediator who was to deliver a recommendation today.
Mediation, however, lead to an agreement late Wednesday night, ending the three-day strike. The university and BUFA previously had conflicting views concerning salary and debated an incremental grid which reflects career progress.
Bruce Forrest, a negotiator for BUFA, said details of the agreement could not be disclosed until a ratification vote had taken place. He added the results of BUFA's ratification vote would be known within the next two weeks.
"I have no doubt that it will pass," he said. "I'm very confident that our meeting will endorse it."
Forrest said that after two days of intense mediation it was the work of mediator John Scurfield which brought the two sides together. "I give all the credit in the world to the mediator."
People felt very good about the settlement and were eager to get back to the classroom, Forrest said. He added the strike was a very unifying event to occur within a faculty.
"I think the people who were the most disadvantaged were the students, because they wanted a whole week out," Forrest said.
"I don't think there is anything in the settlement that will be a cause to raise tuition," he added.
Patrick Carrabre, VP-academic and research at the University of Brandon, said Wednesday's negotiation addressed salary and monetary issues. Carrabre also commended the mediator for his efficiency.
"This kind of thing is never easy. It challenges both sides," he said.
Carrabre said he planned to present the settlement to the Brandon Board of Governors yesterday and would recommend it for ratification. He added working with a mediator was a good way for each side to present their issues.
"I think that this is going to be an opportunity for us to get on with the business of the university," Carrabre said.
Brandon University Students' Council President Michael Elves said he did not know any details of the settlement, but was happy the walkout was over. "We're pleased that it was a pretty short strike," he said.