For immediate release | 13 November 2020
NOVEMBER 13, 2020 | WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – The Green Party of Manitoba announced today its solidarity for the University of Manitoba Faculty Association in their ongoing dispute and called upon the university administration to agree to fulfil the Faculty’s demands for equitable compensation and benefits.
The announcement comes as UMFA employees prepare to strike on 16 November in protest of the university’s refusal to increase salaries or improve benefits after nearly five years of stagnant wages and amid a global pandemic which has greatly increased the faculty’s workload.
“We’re proud to be supporting the Faculty through this,” said Pearson Singbeil-Montgomery, the GPM’s Youth representative in their first year of studies at the U of M. “As much as a strike is not ideal, at this point it seems necessary to seeing our teachers compensated fairly for their work. The PC government has pushed the university to cut costs for several years, and the administration has done nothing to stand up to them. Something has to stop that.”
“Universities are already dealing with the challenges of delivering learning online. Instead of working with faculty, staff and students, the Pallister government is needlessly picking fights in the midst of a pandemic,” said James Beddome, Green Party of Manitoba Leader and a University of Manitoba Alum.
“Students and staff are facing a lot of stress and uncertainty due to this pandemic. The university knows this, and the fact that they continue to ignore our needs and our teachers’ needs in the name of cost reductions is really quite harmful, not only to our education but to our well-being as well,” continued Singbeil Montgomery.
“The Green Party of Manitoba recognizes that collective bargaining is a human right. A Green government would negotiate contracts in good faith, rather than passing unconstitutional laws as the Pallister government did in 2017,” said Beddome, referring to The Public Services and Sustainability Act, which attempted to freeze public sector wages, and which the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench ruled this past June was “a draconian measure” that violated Charter rights to collective bargaining.
“The deadline for an agreement is tomorrow, so the province needs to start respecting workers’ rights, and the university needs to step up and provide for its faculty,” asserted Singbeil Montgomery. “They have been working hard all year through exceptional challenges to give the students the great educations we’re paying for. Our teachers deserve to be compensated fairly for their work and to receive better accommodations for working through COVID-19, and we students shouldn’t have to miss out on our classes for that to happen.”
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