Dear Members,

Many of you were understandably concerned by yesterday’s message from Government and the Employer.

UWFA was present for the teleconference between the public sector and quasi-public sector unions that was held yesterday. Government met with employers in the morning and unions in the afternoon, both were given the same presentation. The message was very clearly about being able to use resources to support frontline work and that resources themselves are diminishing rapidly. The rowing metaphor is intended to convey that we must all work together as a team. Pains were taken to emphasize that frontline healthcare workers, daycare workers, and teachers were all considered essential. There was a distinct lack of clarity respecting how essential services will be determined.

We were told that employers have been directed to meet with their respective unions to discuss ways in which savings can be realized. Employers are meant to report back to government in seven days’ time.

Yesterday President Trimbee sent out an email regarding the circumstances with which the university is faced. In the email she said,

“Throughout this time, UWinnipeg’s decisions will be guided by our Strategic Directions and our core work will continue — achieving academic excellence, which includes teaching and research, and supporting student success.”

The work performed by faculty is the university.

We have collective agreements that protect our Members. The process of declaring exigency is onerous. The Employer is not free to simply alter terms and conditions of employment that have been agreed to in collective agreements. This includes reducing appointments, imposing unpaid work days, and the like. The Employer has not asked us to do any of these things. Members will be asked to make some compromises with respect to how work gets done, for example there could be reduced supports. We are committed to upholding your rights.

We will be meeting with the Employer in the next few days and we will report back to you regarding what has taken place.

Lisa McGifford B.A., LLB
Executive Director
University of Winnipeg Faculty Association