News / Halifax

Acadia University's faculty association sets Nov. 27 strike deadline

Acadia University is seen in Wolfville, N.S. on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Hundreds of professors and other staff at Acadia University could hit the picket line in two weeks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Acadia University is seen in Wolfville, N.S. on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Hundreds of professors and other staff at Acadia University could hit the picket line in two weeks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

WOLFVILLE, N.S. — Hundreds of professors and other staff at Acadia University could hit the picket line in two weeks.

The Acadia University Faculty Association says it has set a Nov. 27 strike deadline after months of trying to negotiate a new collective agreement with the Wolfville, N.S., school.

Negotiations began in late March and the association says they reached an impasse in June.

"We've really gotten no meaningful counter-proposals or response to our proposals from the administration's team," said faculty association spokeswoman Rachel Brickner. "It's hard to negotiate with ourselves."

Brickner, who is an associate professor of politics, said it's hoped a further meeting with the provincial conciliator will help resolve some of the issues.

Conciliation talks in September stalled on the first day and association members subsequently voted 81 per cent in favour of strike action. A further round of conciliation talks last week also failed to bring the two sides together.

Jeff Banks, spokesman for Acadia's board of governors, said there is still work to do around key issues that have financial implications.

"It's imperative that we're able to reach an agreement that doesn't risk the future fiscal health of the institution. We need to be able to project balanced budgets going forward and financial sustainability is just the key issue for us."

The faculty association said its major issues include restoring full-time faculty positions, addressing pay equity, and bringing salaries in line with regional averages.

Brickner said there should be 182 tenure-stream faculty members at Acadia, but there are currently 150.

Banks said the university increased the number of tenure track positions in the last collective agreement and it is looking at another increase for next year although he didn't say how many positions would be created.

He said more talks with the conciliator have been scheduled for Thursday.

The association represents 331 full-time and part-time professors, instructors, librarians, and archivists.

Faculty have walked off the job twice before at the school — in 2004 and 2007.

The liberal arts college has about 3,700 students.

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