First call for nominations:
UMFA President and Vice-President


In accordance with the provisions of the Association’s Constitution (Section 7), I am issuing a call for nominations for the positions of President and Vice–President of the Association for 2023–2024.
 
Section 7.1 of the Constitution provides:
Any Regular Member of the Board of Representatives of at least one year’s standing or any Member of the Executive Council shall be eligible for election as President of UMFA. Any Regular Member shall be eligible for election as Vice-President of UMFA.

Nominations are invited for these two positions. The Nomination Form must be signed by two nominators who are Regular Members of the Association, and the nominee must declare their willingness to stand.
 

A second call for nominations will be sent to you on January 31, 2023, and a reminder on February 15, 2023


The deadline for nominations is February 15, 2023, 4 p.m.  The Nomination Form is available on the UMFA website and is to be emailed to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.

If you have any questions please contact me at <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.

Greg Flemming
UMFA Executive Director/Returning Officer

October 27, 2022

Supreme Court will not hear Labour’s Appeal of wage-freeze legislation (PSSA)

This morning the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) announced that it will not hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA).  

What was the Public Services Sustainability Act?
The PSSA was introduced by the Pallister government in 2017 to implement wage freezes of 0%, 0%, 0.75%, and 1%.  In response, the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) created the Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS), a coalition of unions, including UMFA, impacted by the legislation.  In June 2020, the Court of Queen’s Bench (as it then was) ruled that this legislation was “draconian” and unconstitutional. The Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned that decision in October 2021, ruling that the PSSA did not violate any constitutional rights.  With the Supreme Court dismissing the appeal application, the Appeal Court’s ruling now stands.

What does this mean for our $19.4M remedy?
In addition to the primary focus of the PDPS – that the PSSA is unconstitutional – a separate element of the lawsuit was specific to UMFA members.  Both the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal agreed that your Charter right to freedom of association was violated by having a wage-freeze secretly imposed during bargaining.  

The Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the PDPS’s appeal application therefore does not affect the remedy for UMFA members.  In February 2022 the Court of Queen’s Bench ordered the Government of Manitoba to pay $19.4M to UMFA members in damages.  The government appealed this decision.

On Wednesday January 11, 2023 beginning at 09h30, Manitoba’s Court of Appeal will hear arguments on that appeal. Anyone who wishes to attend the remedy appeal is free to do so and we will communicate more information in January.

What do we do now?

Wage-freeze legislation was only one part of Brian Pallister and Heather Stefanson's attack on education and the public sector.  The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling that UMFA's professors, instructors, and librarians had their Charter right to free association violated when a wage-freeze was secretly imposed on them by the government. Despite stating that they value education, the actions of the Pallister and Stefanson governments have shown otherwise. It's time for workers and students to be prioritized and supported in Manitoba.

Manitoba’s provincial election is less than a year away and it is vital that post-secondary education be a priority issue.  During their tenure, the PC Government has frozen or cut the UM’s operating grant, frozen research funding, and increased student tuition. We, as UMFA members, need to be active participants in ensuring political candidates and elected officials understand the value of post-secondary education in Manitoba, and the kinds of changes and supports we need to see in the years ahead. 

MB Government Appeals Court of Queen’s Bench $19.4M Ruling

Faculty disappointed government not changing direction on labour relations

May 18, 2022, Winnipeg – Today the provincial Conservative Government filed to appeal the Court of Queen’s Bench decision that would see the government compensate professors, instructors, and librarians at the University of Manitoba over $19.4 Million for violating their right to free association. The appeal was filed only two days after a legislative committee began hearings on repealing wage-freeze legislation, the Public Service Sustainability Act.

“We are disheartened that the government has chosen to appeal this decision and prolong the era of government interference in collective bargaining and in the University of Manitoba” said Orvie Dingwall, President of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA). “The government should repeal its regressive wage-freeze legislation, compensate UMFA Members for interfering in negotiations in 2016, and let us focus on providing the high-quality post-secondary education students in Manitoba deserve.”

In October 2021, Manitoba’s Court of Appeal upheld that the government violated UMFA Members’ right to free association in 2016. Justice McKelvey then awarded $19.4 Million in damages as partial compensation for the 2016 salary offer that the University made to faculty, but was forced to withdraw. In secret government communications, the university administration was mandated to remove the wage offer from the bargaining table. 

"The Stefanson government is misleading Manitobans when it says it wants to move on from its attacks on hardworking Manitobans who deliver the public services that we all count on," said Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour.  "The Stefanson government is trying to delay paying the money that it owes to members of UMFA for damage this government caused. The PC party may have changed who sits in the Premier's chair, but this government is exactly the same as it was under Brian Pallister." 

The government now has 45 days to file their arguments and evidence, after which time the union representing 1,265 full-time professors, instructors, and librarians at the University will file their response.

– 30 –

The 2021-2024 UM/UMFA Collective Agreement is now on the UMFA website in searchable PDF format.

https://www.umfa.ca/member-resources/collective-agreement

Adobe Reader is required to view the Collective Agreement.  Plain text articles can be provided upon request.

The electronic copy of the Collective Agreement has been provided for convenience only. It is not an official copy. The printed Collective Agreement is the legal document with respect to the negotiated terms and conditions of employment of all UMFA Members. To request a paper copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Safe Air UM Campaign

UMFA Members Organize for Safe Air on Campus

For months, UMFA members and staff have been advocating for the university's administration to ensure a safe return to campus. These efforts have had moderate success. It is clear that UMFA members and supporters need to take action to get President Benarroch to ensure the University of Manitoba is a leader in safe air – a health reform for our times much as clean water and streets were for an earlier age [1]. That’s why we’re launching the Safe Air campaign.

The pandemic is not over. We have been living with the airborne pathogen SARS-CoV-2 for more than two years. A growing number of people are getting long COVID and suffering long-term debilitating complications, such as brain fog. Meanwhile, vaccine immunity wanes, and new variants that break through existing vaccine protection may develop. We know COVID-19 is airborne [2], but the full scope of its effects remains uncertain.

As UM returns to working and learning fully in-person, we must look to experts for advice on how to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and prevent outbreaks in our community. We know:

  • Properly fitting KN95 masks prevent outbreaks.
  • Vaccines prevent outbreaks and booster doses help to counter waning immunity.
  • Ventilation indoors prevents outbreaks [3].

Yet, these protections will not necessarily be in place as we return to campus. UM needs to be a leader and act on the basis of the best research to reduce the risk of people working and studying on our campuses becoming infected by this airborne virus. Ensuring equitable safe working and learning conditions requires proper ventilation. Soon we’ll have lecture halls filled with over 300 people, with few upgrades to ventilation and filtration having been done. It is unacceptable for air quality in UM buildings to be below the standards for reducing infection that current science recommends. This is why we are calling on President Benarroch and his administration to:

  1. Assess ventilation and filtration in all buildings on all campuses before September 2022 to identify where upgrades are needed so that air quality meets the standards recommended by current science for preventing the transmission of airborne diseases. The results of the assessment should be published publicly.
  2. Initiate ventilation and filtration upgrades as required without delay. As interim measures, provide CO2 monitors and portable HEPA-filters (or equivalent) and implement other COVID-related maintenance as soon as possible but at minimum before September 2022.
  3. Continue to require the wearing of KN-95-level masks and provide them to everyone on all UM campuses.
  4. Provide Rapid Antigen Tests (2 per person per week) to everyone required to be on UM campuses.
  5. Restore the vaccination requirement, with all students and workers required to be maximally vaccinated (with exemptions for bona fide medical reasons).

With the prospect of many more people working and studying in-person this Summer term, we need action now on measures that can be implemented immediately, such as continued mask and vaccination mandates and the availability of rapid testing.

Extensive work on ventilation issues and upgrades needs to start right away. A portion of the UM’s financial surplus should be invested in ensuring proper ventilation in all buildings.

Improved ventilation will not only aid in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 but will also help to prevent the spread of future airborne diseases.

We are calling on President Benarroch to follow science and prioritize the safety of us all. Our community is made up of students, staff, faculty, and administrators with a diversity of interests, backgrounds, and talents. We must aim to prevent as many COVID-19 infections on our campuses as possible.

You can make these demands a reality.

 

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