After four weeks of cancelled classes, the faculty strike at Acadia University has ended after the executive of its 350-member faculty association committed to binding arbitration.
In a release from the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) on Tuesday, the move came after their “most recent attempt to achieve a tentative agreement through mediation on February 26-28 was unsuccessful” and the provincially-appointed mediator determined there was “no realistic pathway to settlement.”
The release said the association’s negotiating team, as well as the Canadian Association of University Teachers and legal counsel, advised that the association agree to put the outstanding issues to binding arbitration.
“The Board’s disrespect for Acadia’s faculty, students, and the negotiation process led to an unnecessary strike and the disruption to students,” said Andrew Biro, AUFA president, in the release.
“The University administration claims that they ‘value’ the faculty. We hope that Acadia’s administration will put in the work necessary to restore their faculty members’ trust in the institution that they devote so much of themselves to.”
Students will return to classes on Thursday, March 3.
The strike began on Feb. 1. The association wants the university to increase the number of tenured faculty, offer higher wages and better working conditions for part-time faculty, and a commitment to increasing the diversity of faculty through dedicated positions for Indigenous people.
The union is also calling for a contract clause that would ensure salaries for full and part-time faculty do not fall below cost of living increases.
On Monday, the university issued a statement saying the parties remained “far apart on several key issues” even after “four months of negotiation, two months of conciliation and three days of mediation.”
Read more: Acadia University strike enters third week
On Tuesday, the university said the parties have agreed to send all outstanding items to arbitration under arbitrator William Kaplan, who was also the mediator. He will make a final, binding decision.
It said in the coming days, Acadia’s senate will convene to determine any changes that may be required for the academic calendar, and the university will review the full financial impacts of the strike on students.
“The University looks forward to welcoming the students back to class on Thursday and would like to thank the Acadia community for their patience during the strike,” it said.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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