Fredericton – This morning, at the crack of dawn, pickets of the University of New Brunswick (UNB) full time professors and library staff began. All classes at UNB have been suspended with the exception of some on-line courses. The strike was initiated late last night as UNB Administration refused to budge on compensation issues and even made an abrupt retrenchment on non-monetary issues. The Collective Bargaining Committee voted unanimously to reject the offer.
UNB Administration’s offer did not appear to be a genuine one according to the Association of UNB Teacher (AUNBT) representatives. “I wonder if they ever intended to settle,” said Dr. Miriam Jones, AUNBT President. “They kept our team talking until practically the last minute and then offered no movement. It is very difficult to view this behaviour in a charitable light.”
Dr. Susan Blair, Job Action Coordinator in Fredericton added, “…it will blow up in their faces. The support we have been seeing from our members is phenomenal. And you know, I don’t think our members will be in the least surprised. This is a continuation of the culture of disrespect that we have been experiencing for some years now.”
Students have been operating largely in the dark for weeks, unsure of whether or not they would see their semester interrupted. “They have been anxious for weeks now,” said Dr. Debra Lindsay, Job Action Coordinator in Saint John. “Anyone monitoring the social media can see the level of stress. To bring things down to the wire like this, with no apparent intent to really negotiate — will only lead to upset students and a stronger and more focused membership.”