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Arbitration ruling brings closure to UNB strike

The final stray strings from last year’s strike were tied off Monday night with the release of the ruling from the Arbitration Board.

This arbitration settlement brought closure to the outstanding issues of the contract negotiations between the UNB administration and the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers (AUNBT).

“Essentially it was just some money issues, all of the other stuff was signed off beforehand,” said Miriam Jones, president of the AUNBT.

“It was a three-year contract and we had partial [salary] increases for two of those years already signed off, and this was about the third year and any additional increases for the first two years.”

Prior to arbitration, which took place July 6-7 this year, the union and the administration had agreed to a 2.5 per cent salary increase for the first two years with the third year’s increase to be determined by arbitration.

Based on the document released last night, the arbitrator ruled that, instead, faculty will see a 3.5 per cent increase in the year one and a 4 per cent increase in year two. Year three will see a 5 per cent increase.

“We’re pleased with the results. We’re pleased that it’s settled. Obviously arbitration is a compromise and we didn’t achieve our goal yet of being at the average of our comparative group, but we’re certainly a lot closer than we were before so that is a very positive thing,” Jones said.

“We’re well on the way to having competitive salaries here at UNB and so we’ve got a strong base for future negotiation.”

Last January, the AUNBT went on strike after they were unable to reach an agreement with the university administration over contract negotiations. Despite finally reaching an agreement at the end of January, tensions have persisted.

Jones said she sees the arbitration settlement as a means to finally move on.

“We’ve got the events of the last year, the contract results, negotiations are now settled and we can all move forward and work on our shared goals of building a strong and vibrant and democratic university,” she said. “It means they weren’t standing out in the cold for nothing.”

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