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UPEI updates students as Monday faculty strike deadline approaches

In early March, faculty members voted 83 per cent to give the union the authority to call a strike as of Monday, March 20, if no new contract has been signed. (Al MacCormick/CBC - image credit)
In early March, faculty members voted 83 per cent to give the union the authority to call a strike as of Monday, March 20, if no new contract has been signed. (Al MacCormick/CBC - image credit)

It appears a strike at the University of Prince Edward Island may be inevitable, with the university administration posting details about what students should do and expect if faculty members walk off the job Monday.

On Friday the university said administrators are awaiting a response from the UPEI Faculty Association, the union representing faculty members, about their latest proposals.

"The university also remains hopeful that the UPEIFA will not take their members on a strike," the university said in a post on its website, while adding: "It is prudent to be prepared for the possibility of a strike."

For its part, the faculty association accused the university of having "little interest" in coming to an agreement, saying few of the administration's latest proposals "provide meaningful movement."

"What the [university] has made clear is that ... they are not prepared to do the difficult work of negotiating a fair and reasonable agreement," the union said in a statement.

What to expect

  • The university's post contained several points about what can be expected if a strike is called.

  • All teaching, including classes, labs and tutorials, will end.

  • The campus will remain open to students and non-striking employees.

  • While striking employees are permitted to set up picket lines and can request people not cross them, they can't stop people from entering the grounds or any building.

  • Email and some online educational platforms will remain available for students and non-striking staff. Email will also be maintained for striking faculty.

History of contract talks

The faculty has been working without a contract since June 2022 when an extended agreement, that initially expired in 2020, ran out.

The two sides have been at the bargaining table since April 2022.

In February the faculty voted 83 per cent to give the union the authority to call a strike.

The union said they would avoid going on strike during the Canada games but announced on March 8 it would as of Monday, March 20, if no new contract is signed.

This came after a provincially appointed mediator was unable to guide the two sides toward an agreement.