We have received a number of messages and emails with concerns about the strike, the picket line and the information from the U of M that we are required to continue to work throughout the strike.
As we pointed out, the law in Manitoba as well as the rest of Canada is very clear. Unions who are locked in to a Collective Agreement are legally prohibited from having any work stoppages during the life of the agreement. This includes sympathy strikes. The consequences of disobeying the law could result in negative consequences for individual members.
UMFA is very aware of this and at this point, has not asked CUPE (nor, to the best of our knowledge any of the other unions on campus) to tell our members to refuse to work.
In the last UMFA strike as well as this one, our Union has and will express our solidarity by talking to students about the strike and why it is important, attending protests, etc. and taking up any actions that UMFA asks us to participate in. Our members can and will walk the picket lines.
You should also know that our Collective Agreements have a provision to protect us from having to do any work normally performed by members of other Unions that are on strike.
We are quite concerned about the inadequacy of the instructions to our members as provided by the University. It was very clear that Unit 1 and Unit 2 Instructors are required to teach their courses. The information for our Unit 1 TAs, Grader Markers, Lab Demonstrators, etc. was not clear. We are in the process of trying to get some clear guidelines for these classifications. We will get back to you as soon as the University provides us with specific information.
As always, contact us with any concerns.