University of Regina workers vote for strike mandate

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: flickr/ Alec Couros


A group of unionized employees at the University of Regina are about to enter their 20th month without a collective agreement following a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations.

The work contract for the 325 administrative, technical and professional (ATP) staff members, represented by the University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA), expired at the end of July 2014.

Today marks a year exactly since negotiators headed to the bargaining table to hash out a new agreement for the workers, who are staff frontline services like student advising, counselling, and information technology.

According to the URFA -- which has a dedicated bargaining unit for ATP employees -- progress has been slow due to a lack of commitment from the university.

Dr. Dennis Fitzpatrick, URFA chair and chemistry and biology professor, says ATP members are particularly dissatisfied about the university's proposed changes to lay-off and retirement clauses, as well as the low salary base increase it is offering.

"The first issue is the issue of equity across campus," he says.

The ATP unit was offered about half of the overall two per cent base salary increase received by the URFA's faculty unit members when they settled a new collective in January last year.

The amount is also "significantly less" than what is being provided to the university's out-of-scope employees, Fitzpatrick said.

At the end of last month, a proposed agreement from the university was rejected by 88.7 per cent of ATP unit members.

Two weeks later, 85.2 per cent of members voted to strike.

"It didn't appear the university was taking the bargaining seriously until we called the strike mandate," Fitzpatrick said.

Negotiators are also struggling with data being used by the university as evidence for its salary increase proposals.

When bargaining for the faculty unit members took place, URFA negotiators wanted a comparison of staff salary levels across about 10 universities -- identified by management at the University of Regina as similar to its institution -- performed, Fitzpatrick said.

The university dismissed this suggestion.

"During negotiations here, the university turned around and said: we're going to compare these people to [other] institutions to see how their salaries should be set."

When the URFA asked about the comparison, the university refused to say what tertiary institutions it had used because it had "promised" anonymity to the organizations involved, Fitzpatrick said.

"There's a significant double standard where they apply data," he said.

Other proposed changes would effectively make it easier for the university to layoff people with less notice and payout.

In addition to this, an increase in the 10 years' employment threshold required for members to be eligible for the retirement allowance is on the table, Fitzpatrick said.

"The mood is worrying. Right now, we're talking about some pretty gloomy budget announcements and no one knows where things are going -- they're concerned," he said.

Management at the University of Regina declined an interview when contacted by rabble, and issued a short statement via email.

"We are in the process of scheduling further discussions," the statement said.

"With this in mind, we do not believe it would be fair to those at the negotiating table to conduct those discussions through the media."


Teuila Fuatai is a recent transplant to Canada from Auckland, New Zealand. She settled in Toronto in September following a five-month travel stint around the United States. In New Zealand, she worked as a general news reporter for the New Zealand Herald and APNZ News Service for four years after studying accounting, communication and politics at the University of Otago. As a student, she had her own radio show on the local university station and wrote for the student magazine. She is rabble's labour beat reporter this year.

Photo: flickr/ Alec Couros

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.