In November 2016, a 21-day labour relations strike between the University of Manitoba Faculty
Association (UMFA) and the University’s Administration left over 80% of students at the University of Manitoba
facing precarious unknowns about their post-secondary education. The agreement reached following the strike
expired in March 2017. With no further negotiations to date, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) is
urging both parties to reach a settlement by midnight on September 19, 2017, to guarantee students academic
stability for this year before the class withdrawal and fee refund deadline on September 20. If a deal cannot be
reached, UMSU is calling for a public commitment from the University Administration to offer full refunds and
academic amnesty to any student who requests it.

Students committing thousands of dollars to the University each semester are entitled to see the same
commitment to their education from the Administration and UMFA. Last year’s strike resulted in withdrawn
classes, accelerated schedules, missed prerequisites, and overall diminished quality of education for those
impacted—the vast majority of the student body.

“Every year the cost of education increases. The last thing students need, as major investors and valuable
stakeholders of the University of Manitoba, is more uncertainty in their education,” says UMSU President Tanjit
Nagra. “The fact that the University Administration and UMFA aren’t meeting at least once a week before classes
begin in September to resolve this issue, or multiple times per week for that matter, is completely unacceptable
and unfair to all students. This issue should not be taken lightly.”

Precautions must be taken to protect students’ interests and their investment in the University throughout the
negotiations process. Taking action to reach a mutually agreeable settlement by September 19 to eliminate the
chance of another strike, and to minimize negative effects for students, must be paramount to both the
Administration and UMFA.

“Anxiety levels are rising. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the fall, and we don’t know what’s happening
except for what we’re being told by both parties,” adds Nagra. “Students are the most important factor in these
negotiations, but we aren’t around the bargaining table. It’s important for the University of Manitoba
Administration and UMFA to understand we are the most important stakeholders in this process, and our
education matters.”

 

For media information, please contact:

Tanjit Nagra
President
University of Manitoba Students’ Union

Phone: 204-474-6519
Email: pres@umsu.ca