Memorial University’s negotiating team has requested further talks with its faculty association (MUNFA) on Dec. 18 in an attempt to reach a tentative collective agreement.
MUNFA represents about 850 full-time faculty, librarians, counsellors and co-operative and field education co-ordinators employed by the university at its various locations.
Negotiations had reached an impasse in early November.
That was after several rounds of conciliation during the summer to replace the collective bargaining agreement that expired in August 2017.
“Recent public statements by MUNFA’s president indicate that the outstanding issue preventing us from reaching a tentative agreement is the right of first refusal for its members holding term appointments,” said Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic), in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon.
“If this is indeed the case, we are cautiously optimistic a resolution is possible and have reached out to the conciliator to help us get back to the table. We know the uncertainty around a potential strike has a negative impact on students and that is why we have taken this step to move the process forward.”
According to the release, on Nov. 27 the university requested to have its negotiators meet with the MUNFA negotiating team.
The purpose was to clarify that the issue separating the parties from a tentative agreement is the right of first refusal and to discuss a process to move forward.
“Contrary to the public comments made since by their president, the representatives of the MUNFA negotiating team refused to acknowledge it was the remaining issue,” reads the university’s news release.
“The Nov. 27 exchange with representatives of the MUNFA negotiating team is clearly inconsistent with the MUNFA president’s public comments earlier this week,” Golfman was quoted saying.
“The university remains open to reaching a tentative agreement, and we call on MUNFA to be clear with us about the outstanding issues.”
MUNFA had also proposed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) requesting there be no strike or lockout before Jan. 3.
The release states the university advised the union it has no intention of taking action that would disrupt students’ exams or the winter semester, negating the need for such an MOU.