UNBC faculty take to picket lines

Members of the University of Northern British Columbia Faculty Association are on strike.

Pickets are up on the UNBC campus and at the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, as well as at the university's Terrace campus.

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In a posting, UNBC administration said classes will not take place at any UNBC campus but the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre, the library, dining hall, and other non-academic student services will remain open.

"We understand transit buses will not cross picket lines, so buses will stop at temporary stops on University Way," administration added.

In an email, Faculty Association president Stephen Rader said talks broke off at 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

"As of 8 a.m., UNBC faculty are on strike for the second time in five years," he said. "The Faculty Association is disappointed to find our members on the picket line again, and remains committed to negotiating a fair, sector-norm contract."

At a rally Wednesday, Rader said adminstration presented an offer that will bring professors' pay in line with comparable universities but falls short of improving the situation for other academic staff the Faculty Association also represents.

In its posting, administration provided details on an offer presented on Wednesday evening.

- A new senior lab instructor rank "creating additional career-growth opportunities" for those in the position.

- A new compensation model for faculty, built upon principles established jointly by the employer and the Faculty Association; - A new career track for teaching-focused members, "reducing the need for repeating term appointments."

- Closure of the salary gap between tenured and tenure-track faculty and the 50th percentile of comparable universities by about 90 per cent "in just one round of bargaining."

- Average salary increase of 15% over three years for tenured and tenure-track faculty.

"The Employer stands ready to continue bargaining and remains committed to reaching an agreement at the table," administration added.

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