(Ottawa – March 20, 2023) After months of negotiations, academic staff represented by the University of Prince Edward Island Faculty Association (UPEIFA) have taken to the picket lines to achieve a fair contract. The union is seeking to secure mental health benefits for members, increase the number of full-time faculty, and improve salaries.
“For the last ten months, we’ve encountered an employer who has taken little interest in addressing [members’] concerns and a provincial government who has been all too willing to intervene to the benefit of our employer,” said Michael Arfken, president and chief grievance officer of the UPEI Faculty Association in a statement.
The association says the employer’s latest offer failed to address the key issues affecting academic staff’s working conditions and students’ learning conditions.
In the last decade, enrolments at UPEI have increased 26% and tuition has risen 30%, but the number of full-time faculty has fallen by 1% according to an update released on March 6. This has led to increased class sizes and a greater number of courses taught by contract academic staff who have few benefits and supports.
The UPEIFA represents over 400 faculty members, librarians, sessional instructors, clinical nursing instructors and clinical veterinary professionals.