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Graduate student union calls strike vote

The union of graduate student workers (UGSW) will be voting whether or not to accept the university’s final employment contract offer next month.

The vote will take place the week of March 14-18 and will decide whether or not the union will move into a possible strike.

The union met with UNB admin last week with mediation provided by a provincial conciliator. The meeting was arranged after the UGSW had already announced an earlier strike vote.

“As always, the university team is entering these meetings with the goal of reaching a fair and reasonable agreement,” said Peter McDougall, associate vice-president of human resources and organizational development ahead of the meeting.

The conciliator later ended conciliations and has reported to the Minister of Labour.

The UGSW is represented by PSAC, a nation wide union. Larry Gagnon was PSAC’s negotiator.

“UNB’s administration is not willing to make further improvements in their monetary offer, as well as in language to protect these workers in relation to sexual and personal harassment, abuse of authority, violence in the workplace and whistleblowing,” wrote Gagnon in a press release.

The union has been without a collective agreement since 2013.

“There’s been over a hundred things signed off on, a lot of it is refinement, some of it is new material. It’s a complicated process,” said Joe Blades, executive director of the UGSW.

Blades said there are still 21 key concerns for the union.

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