Negotiations over the professors’ collective bargaining agreement continue Monday, Jan. 6. However, AUNBT president Miriam Jones says if the meeting is not productive, a strike is likely.
“It’s sort of a last-ditch effort as far as we’re concerned to get them to recognize the issue of competitive salaries and comparability we need to maintain our reputation as a national comprehensive university,” Jones said.
The truce to prevent job action from both the university and the union ended on Jan. 2, which means a strike or lockout can happen with 24 hours notice. UNB has asked to have additional meetings and extend the truce until the third week of January.
On Friday night, the union’s bargaining committee will be meeting to discuss options. She said a definitive decision would come after Monday’s negotiation meeting.
“At this point there is a strike mandate, so we don’t need to ask the members for that,” Jones said. “It’s essentially the questions deciding whether we’re in that position or not.”
The union has been renting a strike headquarters in both Fredericton and Saint John since December. On Friday, at the Fredericton HQ on McLeod Ave., professors were helping move in furniture and painting picket signs.
“You have to be ready to strike in order for it to be a reasonable piece of leverage. No one is going to take you seriously if you’re not ready,” Jones said. “Nine times out of 10 this kind of preparation ends up not resulting in a strike, but you need to do it.”
Despite the full preparation, she said the union hopes Monday’s meeting can be productive.
“If there is any possibility of a negotiated settlement, we want to pursue that,” Jones said. “But we’re not going to be stalled. We are at the point now where we need to see some movement or there is not point in continuing to talk.”
The university said in a statement that the focus is to get a deal done.
“Discussions are continuing next week. We are focused on continuing to resolve outstanding issues and remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached,” the statement read.