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Volume 33 Number 6

November 2, 2000

MUNFA walks out

First faculty strike in Memorial’s history

By Ivan Muzychka

For the first time in the history of Memorial University, the union representing its 765 faculty and librarians (MUNFA) has gone on strike.

On Oct. 20, the MUNFA executive held a strike vote which garnered 61 per cent support from the 547 members who voted.

Negotiators for the university’s administration and the Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association (MUNFA) worked through the night of Oct. 30 in an effort to develop a contract. However, the union opted for strike action and set up their picket lines early on Oct. 31.

Memorial University is offering a three-year contract with proposals on salary, workload, tenure and promotion, and working conditions designed to achieve standards comparable to those at other comprehensive Canadian universities.

The salary proposal offers an average increase of 20.6 per cent for all professors. For professors without doctorates (about 130 of the MUNFA members), the average increase is 15.7 per cent. For professors with doctorates, the average increase is 22 per cent.

“We have tried to do what we could in order to improve the salaries for our employees and I’m committed to bringing our salaries closer to where the Canadian national average is in order to ensure that we have a first rate university,” said Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial, in an interview with CBC Radio. “This offer does that. It doesn’t do it exactly the same way for everybody but it is impossible under the circumstances to do it in exactly the same way.”

The faculty association is not satisfied with the difference in the salary offer made to professors with doctorates and to those who do not hold a doctorate.

“What we want to do is to accept the principle that those with the doctorate are undervalued under the current scale and we endorse the notion that they should be paid, they should be given an increment. But...we think that the university’s increment is just too rich,” MUNFA president Dr. Noel Roy told CBC Radio.

In response to the strike, the university cancelled all classes and labs for Tuesday and moved the Fall semester break scheduled for Nov. 13-15 to Nov. 1-3, effectively canceling all classes for the rest of the week. this was done to reduce the impact of the strike on the students. The university remains open to students and faculty who want to access computer services and research facilities. Students in St. John’s who have questions or concerns are encouraged to call the Information Centres for Students at 737-3423 or 737-3943, while Students at Grenfell College can call 637-6200 to be referred to the appropriate office.

For updated information on the strike, visit the Memorial web site at:

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