TRU faculty serves strike notice, agrees to mediation

The two sides negotiating at Thompson Rivers University could be going to the mediation table as early as Friday.

The two sides negotiating at Thompson Rivers University could be going to the mediation table as early as Friday.

On Monday Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association (TRUFA) issued a 72-hour legal strike notice, which could potentially see members taking job action by Thursday, but by the end of the day had agreed to go to mediation.

One of the main issues for TRUFA is the desire to have more faculty members involved with decision making and to ensure transparency, said TRUFA president Tom Friedman.

“Quite often decisions are made in the absence of proper consultation and collaboration,” he said.

TRU’s vice president of administration and finance Matt Milovich countered Friedman saying the university’s decision making is fairly typical of what happens at other universities.

“On almost all, if not all major decision making committees at TRU, the faculty cohort is well represented,” he said.

TRUFA also wants a commitment from the administration to hire full-time faculty to perform full-time, ongoing work, Friedman said. In Williams Lake programs like the Licensed Practical Nursing and the Health Care Assistant need fully tenured faculty, he added.

“People are on contract yet they are being given full responsibility to run a whole program out of a regional campus,” Friedman said.

Milovich said the university is waiting for enrolment stabilization in Williams Lake before hiring more full-time faculty, noting the LPN program has been running every two years because there weren’t enough students to run it every year.

The university hopes the union will put off any job action until the mediation process works its way through, he said.

TRUFA represents approximately 650 instructors, librarians, counsellors, educational coordinators, and learning specialists. In November members on both campuses voted 80 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.