School may be out for students at UNBC as of Thursday morning.
At 8 a.m. Monday, the school’s Faculty Association issued 72-hour strike notice. At a media conference Monday afternoon, association president Jacqueline Holler said the strike would be total.
“We will be withdrawing all services at all the school’s campuses. It will be a full-scale walkout.”
The association represents some 340 full- and part-time faculty members, senior lab instructors, librarians and archivists.
“We have delayed job action as long as possible,” Holler said, “partly to allow negotiations to continue and partly to avoid disrupting the Canada WInter Games.”
She said an arbitrator’s report from February 2014 prepared by Vince Ready said the school is capable of re-ordering its spending priorities to provide more funding for the faculty contract.
Chief negotiator Ted Binnema said after the Ready report, the faculty voted to certify as a union.
“In May 2014, UNBC tabled a proposal which would have taken us further from the norm of faculty agreements..
“Progress has been made, but slowly. We are well past the date when our first contract should have been in place.”
Holler said the two sides have reached agreement on some benefits, but salaries and other benefits remain issues.
“We are very far apart on the salary issue. Among the benefits still under discussion are sick leave and sabbaticals.”
On the UNBC website (www.unbc.ca), the university says the two sides “have made significant progress in negotiations for a first collective agreement . . . The progress that has been demonstrated to date indicates that an agreement can best come through negotiations.”
The website also advises students to prepare to attend classes until otherwise informed.