Over the lunch hour today, members of Red River College Polytechnic in Winnipeg and Assiniboine Community College in Brandon held an information picket outside their respective campuses to send a clear message: if staff salaries do not catch up and keep up with others in their field – not to mention increasing inflation! – it will become increasingly difficult to attract those with the kind of experience and knowledge that students need to help launch their careers.
"Right now, instructors and other staff at these colleges are amongst the lowest paid in Canada," MGEU President Kyle Ross said. "Recruitment and retention continue to be an issue."
Currently, RRC and ACC train thousands of Manitobans each year in range of critical front-line fields, including health care, child care, and skilled trades.
"These are the people building our future workforce," Ross said, "and they are falling too far behind when it comes to compensation. The colleges are having trouble filling positions. At this point, a strike is the last resort, but if we don't see movement, members are scheduled to walk the picket line next week. It's long past time for the provincial government to step up and properly fund post-secondary education and for college management to deliver a fair deal."
Following the info picket, the Colleges Bargaining Committee met with the employer with the aid of the conciliator.
"The employer tabled a new, very disappointing offer," said Ross. "But it's changed enough that it warrants us taking it back out to the membership for another vote."
Members are encouraged to stay tuned for more details about the offer and upcoming vote meetings.