CUFA to Vote on Strike Mandate

Full-Time Faculty Fed Up with Negotiation Progress

Graphic Clément Liu

After 14 months of contract negotiations, Concordia’s full-time professors will begin voting tomorrow on an unlimited strike mandate.

CUFA has voted in favour of a strike mandate. Click here for more.

The vote will begin on Thursday and continue online, with results likely to be available by Friday, March 6. If the motion is approved, members of the Concordia University Faculty Association will be able to begin labour actions that could include a full strike.

In a document released last week, CUFA said that any strike would be a “full-scale walkout,” with “non-stop consecutive days of work stoppage” and picketing until the dispute is resolved.

Since last December, negotiating teams from CUFA and the university have been working with a conciliator appointed by the provincial government.

“At this point, for us, unless we hear otherwise, we are proceeding at the bargaining table with the conciliator,” said university spokesperson Chris Mota. Both teams still have a regular meeting scheduled for Friday, she said, and another for March 18.

Except to confirm that the strike vote will be taking place, CUFA could not be reached for further comment.

The university is “negotiating with CUFA in a very profligate manner,” the union’s negotiating team wrote in a members bulletin published on December 12.

“For every hour of our time that they waste at the bargaining table, we can expect to spend many many more hours waiting for them to get back to us. Our money’s on Godot showing up first,” the team wrote in the bulletin.

“We really need to focus on what is really important,” CUFA’s chief negotiator Ian Rakita told The Link in March 2012. “I said it in so many words to the administration, that we would be content with leaving the collective agreement as it was and moving straight to a discussion of monetary issues.”

In the year since that interview, CUFA and the university have not reached a settlement on salary increases, and proposals from both parties remain far apart.

Concordia’s part-time faculty approved an unlimited strike mandate with 95 per cent support last November, but have not yet taken any strike action.

Update: The original version of this article said results would likely be available Wednesday. In reality, voting will continue until Friday and results are expected in the afternoon. The story has been updated to reflect that.

Update: According to the Montreal Gazette, CUFA has announced that its members have voted 74 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. This marks the first time the union has possessed a strike mandate. With this new mandate, all full-time faculty members could go on strike with 48-hour notice.

More to come.