TRU faculty has served 72-hour strike notice, saying they’ve made little progress at the bargaining table on key issues.
Faculty association announced the move Monday morning, Jan. 11, after the most recent talks were held on Thursday, Jan. 7.
“Unfortunately, the employer remains unwilling to acknowledge or address the issues that faculty have maintained are critical,” said Tom Friedman, TRUFA President. “Before Christmas, the union submitted a bargaining package that included significant concessions from our original positions, but we have not seen any real movement from the employer.”
The association held a strike vote in November and received an 80 percent mandate.
Just prior to the holidays, TRU administration expressed optimism that the two parties could reach a new contract agreement. A media blackout was imposed, preventing the association from providing updates.
Friedman singled out the principle of shared governance as a key issue in the failure to reach agreement. He said the university was founded on that principle in 2005. It means join responsibility by faculty and administrators for academic decisions, mutual accountability, and transparency. TRUFA also wants a commitment from administration to hire full-time faculty to perform full-time, ongoing work.
“Currently, sufficient resources are not going to assist faculty in meeting student needs or in providing much-needed services that foster student success,” said Friedman. “Instead, a significant portion of the TRU budget increasingly goes into administration. In fact, administrative costs have risen dramatically since 2005, while expenditures on front-line education have remained static.”
The union remains open to any and all ways of resolving the bargaining impasse, including mediation. Friedman remains hopeful, but notes that the parties are still very far apart.
The faculty association represents approximately 650 instructors, librarians, counsellors, educational coordinators and learning specialists on campuses in Kamloops and Williams Lake.