Professors, librarians and researchers represented by the Association of University New Brunswick Teachers (AUNBT) have gone on strike.
The labour action follows failed negotiations for a new collective agreement.
Significant changes to its salary proposal failed to spur a deal, the union said in its statement to students and media. According to AUNBT the university made no efforts to compromise on the issue of compensation.
“I wonder if they ever intended to settle,” said AUNBT president Miriam Jones. “They kept our team talking until practically the last minute and then offered no movement. It is very difficult to view this behavior in a charitable light.”
Classes in New Brunswick locations are suspended, though some online courses will continue uninterrupted.
“I don’t understand what they are playing at,” said Susan Blair, AUNBT’s job action committee coordinator in Fredericton. “But it will blow up in their faces. The support we have been seeing from our members is phenomenal. And you know, I don’t think our members will be in the least surprised. This is a continuation of the culture of disrespect that we have been experiencing for some years now.”
H.E.A. Campbell, president of the University of New Brunswick, acknowledged the stress a strike puts on both students and staff.
“Strikes are stressful for everyone, for our students, staff, faculty and administration,” Campbell said. “The decision to strike could not have been an easy one for our faculty. Faculty are core to what makes UNB a desirable place of higher learning… At the moment, we have a disagreement with our AUNBT colleagues with respect to a new collective agreement, but that does not take away from our shared passion for UNB and for making the university stronger.”
Campbell went on to say the parties will continue to negotiate and eventually settle the dispute.
“A new contract will be signed,” he said, “and we will all return to the work we love.”
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