FAQs for Students

Faculty Members’ Working Conditions Impact Students’ Learning Conditions

As teachers our primary goal is to deliver quality education to our students. We care about our students, their experiences, and their futures. Erosion of the academic experience effects our current students and future students. As faculty we need to maintain the quality of education at MRU for years to come. 

For illustrative purposes only *not necessarily linked to current positions at the table** examples of how faculty working conditions effect learning conditions include…

  • Large class sizes decrease the personalized learning experience for students
  • High workloads reduce faculty members’ ability to deliver quality educational experiences
  • Precarious employment impacts academic freedom

Steps in the Collective Bargaining Process:

Note: Collective bargaining can continue throughout all of these steps.

1. Notice to Commence Collective Bargaining.

2. Commence Collective Bargaining.

Note: Commenced January 2020.

The Collective Agreement expired July 1, 2020.

Note: The agreement remains enforce until i) a new agreement is ratified, ii) strike or lockout occurs, or iii) a 2-year period has elapsed.

b. 37 meetings were held in an attempt to reach a new collective agreement with the BoG. The MRFA remains committed to actively reaching an agreement with the BoG.

3. Voluntary Informal Mediation

Note: The parties engaged in two days of voluntary mediation. Upon conclusion, either:

a. An agreement is reached (skip to step 8), or

b. Collective bargaining continues.

4. Statutory Mediation – A formal process used to try to reach an agreement.

Either the MRFA or the BoG’s team may ask for Statutory Mediation. Note: Statutory Mediation for the current round of bargaining held on January 24-25, 2022. Upon conclusion, either:

a. An agreement is reached (skip to step 8), or

b. Collective bargaining continues.

5. Possible Vote on Mediator’s Recommendation

If the Mediator decides to issue recommendations after the Statutory Mediation process, either side may:

a. Choose to present the recommendations to the group they represent for an acceptance vote,

b. Ask that the recommendations be brought before the other group for consideration of acceptance, or

c. Continue collective bargaining.

6. 14-Day Cooling Off Period

After the conclusion of the Statutory Mediation process, the parties must enter into a 14-day cooling off period.

7. Strike or Lockout

Once impasse has been reached:

a. The MRFA Membership can vote to engage in a strike.

b. The Board of Governors can vote to engage in a lockout.

8. Ratification Vote

Once an agreement has been reached at the table, the Negotiations Team will present the package to the Membership for a ratification vote.

Given the current status of bargaining the actual items at the table are considered confidential until the Association has provided 48 hours notice to the Board’s bargaining team that we will be communicating said items publicly. This communications ground rule will not be applicable once we reach the 72 hour notice period leading up to job action.

The MRFA has always maintained as a primary goal in its mission is to maintain adequate working conditions for members to ensure that quality education is delivered to MRU students.

Your professors, the MRFA, and SAMRU cannot provide answers to these types of operational questions for a few reasons:

  1. Typically,  post-secondary strikes last less than 3 weeks and if this is the case in our situation, then it would be the intent of the faculty to ensure that all students get caught up after we return to work.  Classes could potentially be extended a week or two later in April, but this would not be a material change for any student experience.  However, we cannot accurately anticipate how long job action would last. 
  2. In most labour situations, an impending notice of job action (strike or lockout) more often than not results in a deal being negotiated before the actual strike or lockout takes place.  We are hopeful this will be the case in our situation; however, the Association needs to be prepared for all possible outcomes. 
  3. Regardless of how long the faculty are engaged in job action (if at all), we cannot predict what MRU administration will do with regard to student graduation.

These are operational questions that need to be asked of MRU’s Administration.  

Students are encouraged to ask these questions of the administration to get more detailed information. Students with operational questions should contact Chris Rogerson, Executive Director of Student Affairs (crogerson@mtroyal.ca) and Phil Warsaba, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Student Affairs (pwarsaba@mtroyal.ca).