Canada’s student movement stands in solidarity with members of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA), who have been on strike since November 1 in defence of academic freedom, fair workloads and high-quality education.
The CFS supports the right of all workers to withhold their labour and pursue job action. As a proud ally of the labour movement, we recognize the immeasurable social progress that has come from workers asserting their collective power in this manner.
The Federation also supports the specific demands put forward by UMFA in collective bargaining negotiations. It bears repeating that their members’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.
UMFA’s proposals, including manageable workloads that will allow professors to spend more time with individual students, rejecting performance indicators that evaluate faculty members on arbitrary criteria including the “impact factor” of the journals they publish in, and salary increases that lift them from the pay floor of comparable institutions will improve the quality of teaching and research at the University of Manitoba.
When students called a national Day of Action for the elimination of tuition fees and universal, public post-secondary education, UMFA stood beside us. As students, it is incumbent upon us to return the favour. We all benefit from strong public investments in post-secondary education.
There are a number of things you can do to support UMFA members as they fight for a fair deal. Strong student and community support for the strike means that it’s more likely to be resolved in a timely way. Here are a few ways you can help:
- You can call (204-474-9345) or email the University of Manitoba’s President, Dr. David Barnard here and ask that he take every possible step to stop the strike by negotiating a fair agreement.
- Please do not cross the picket lines or come to campus unless absolutely necessary.
- Talk to other students, your friends, and your family about the issues and why their support of the strike is so important.
- Walk on the picket line alongside your professors, instructors and librarians.
- Share information on social media about the importance of the issues and the impact on education if matters do not get addressed.
Students must unite with workers on and off campus to protect collective bargaining rights and defend good jobs. By joining together with UMFA and faculty unions everywhere, we can create campuses that work, not just for top administrators, but for students, academic and support staff, and the communities they serve.