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.

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