WINNIPEG — The provincial Tory government has been ordered to pay $19.3 million to the University of Manitoba Faculty Association for interring with bargaining efforts in 2016.
Provincial Justice Joan McKelvey ruled on Wednesday the province violated UMFA members’ right to free association, which triggered a 21-day strike.
“This ruling is a bittersweet victory for UMFA’s members, after having been negatively affected by the Conservative government’s interference in collective bargaining, and draconian wage-freeze legislation,” said UMFA president Orvie Dingwall.
“The government’s actions were harmful to UMFA members and students at the University of Manitoba. The Stefanson government should recognize the costs of their continued interference and must use this opportunity to change their course and respect the independence of Manitoba’s universities, and workers’ rights in collective bargaining.”
The ruling requires the province to pay UMFA a total of $19.3 million plus interest for violating their freedom of association. From that, $16 million will be distributed to members for lost wages, while $3 million will cover the UMFA’s costs of the 2016 strike.
“The cause of the strike was Manitoba’s late mandate during the negotiations and instructions to UM not to reveal [the government’s] involvement,” Justice McKelvey wrote in her ruling.
She added, the “conduct significantly disrupted the balance between UM and UMFA along with their relationship, as well as causing significant discord between UMFA and its membership. There was a serious and substantial undermining and interference with what had been a meaningful and productive process of collective bargaining.”
The full decision can be read below: