Volume 93, Issue 86

Tuesday, March 14, 2000


Grad students pass on bus

Arbitrator called to end Cape Breton strike

Students spooked by knife-wielding stranger

SuperBuild project starts soon

Pope makes history with apology for sins

No crime too small for the UPD



Caught on campus

Arbitrator called to end Cape Breton strike

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

A four week strike by professors at a Nova Scotia university may soon be over, thanks to the appointment of an arbitrator.

Faculty at the University College of Cape Breton are still in the midst of a lengthy strike which seems to have reached a deadlock, said Douglas Grant, chair of the strike action committee with the UCCB Faculty Association of University Teachers.

"The negotiations have been extremely protracted," he said. "The management negotiators have tried to reinvent every wheel." He explained the province-appointed lawyer, Milton Venoit, would meet with both sides today.

Grant confirmed the strike, which began Feb. 11, was over tenure, promotion practices and most importantly, salary and wages. "The faculty salary at UCCB are the lowest in the country," Grant said, adding a 30 per cent increase would be required to put UCCB faculty on par with faculty at other Canadian universities.

"Our quest for an increase isn't collective greed," he said, of the 17.5 per cent administration has offered.

"If we were to accept that, by the end, we would be even further behind because other universities are already into their second round of negotiations," Grant said.

Suzanne Spencer, UCCB spokesperson, said the university felt it was being generous with its offer. "They are continuing to reject our offers," she said. Talks finally ended last Thursday, because FAUT refused to counter the 17.5 per cent, deeming it insulting, she said. "If they were bargaining under good faith, they would have countered it.

"Our position [is], because of the financial constraints of the institution, we can not offer a better deal," she stated.

"The whole commitment in UCCB is to accessibility in education – an increase of more than 17.5 [per cent] would substantially raise tuition by double digits," she said.

This is a real concern to students, said Russell MacKinnon, president of UCCB Students' Union Association. "Students are very worried that the term will go into the summer," MacKinnon said.

He explained the student association protested the strike and has pushed for arbitration since the start. "You need an unbiased third party to solve this. Right now we are very happy that there has been mediation appointed," he said.

"Both sides say they care about students. Obviously they're going to have to meet in the middle because neither side is thinking of students," MacKinnon said.

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