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EDITORIAL CARTOON: Dec. 17, 2018
EDITORIAL CARTOON: Dec. 18, 2018
Mount Saint Vincent University wants to educate its students about negotiations between the school and faculty association.
Brian Jessop, vice-president of administration at the Mount, sent a campus-wide email “to ensure accurate and timely communication to the greatest extent possible.”
The Halifax university and faculty association last met on Nov. 28 for a second round of conciliation, but failed to reach an agreement.
The Mount offered salary scale increases of 1.75 per cent for full-time faculty and librarians and two per cent for lab instructors, in each of the next three years, on top of regular salary increases, according to the email.
The Halifax university has the lowest average pay differential in the province between men and women faculty, shows data from Statistics Canada, with 60 per cent of the faculty being female.
MSVU full-time professors are paid the third highest in Nova Scotia, with an average salary of $136,525 in 2017-2018, according to Statistics Canada. Full-time professors at Dalhousie University, excluding medical and dental, had an average salary of $159,075, while Saint Mary’s full-time professors averaged $147,175.
Associate professors and assistant professors make $113,300 and $86,125, respectively.
The Halifax university also offered increased starting salaries for associate and assistant professors, and some levels of librarians and lab instructors.
Other offers included increasing family emergency leave from five to 10 paid days per year, new articles for support related to victims of domestic violence, compassionate care and family caregiver leave and to establish a committee to facilitate the recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty.
“As is the case across the post-secondary sector, the Mount’s fiscal reality is challenging, with enrolments trending downward due to shifting demographics in our region,” said the Mount’s vice-president of administration, noting enrolment has dropped about nine per cent over the past three years.
A new collective agreement must be negotiated at the bargaining table, said the MSVU Faculty Association.
“The faculty association executive has communicated to its membership that the executive and the negotiations committee will not engage in public bargaining,” said the union in an emailed statement.
The 144-member union represents full-time faculty, lab instructors and librarians at MSVU. Ninety-four per cent of the association voted in favour of a strike in early November.
The university and faculty association are to meet with the conciliator on Jan. 2 for the final round of bargaining.
If an agreement is not reached, the union would be in legal strike position as of Jan. 7 — the first day students return to class in 2019.
“Students should plan to return to the Mount as normal in the new year,” stated Jessop.