Law360 Canada (September 6, 2023, 6:12 AM EDT) -- Appeal by Province of Manitoba (Manitoba) from trial judge’s damages award to members of University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) on grounds that trial judge made errors of law and of fact in reaching her conclusion. The University of Manitoba (University) and UMFA were engaged in contract negotiations. The University offered UMFA a comprehensive offer which included a seven per cent wage increase over four years which would have represented a 17.5 per cent wage offer over the four-year period. That offer, while not accepted by UMFA, was still on the table when Manitoba heard about it. Thinking it would create a bad precedent for future bargaining regarding public sector wages across the province, Manitoba directed the University to bargain for a one-year agreement with a zero per cent wage freeze for UMFA. The University informed UMFA of the mandate it had received from Manitoba. UMFA reacted negatively, and its members commenced a legal strike. UMFA filed with the Manitoba Labour Board (Board) an unfair labour practice against the University for not disclosing the one-year zero per cent wage freeze mandate during a three-week period. The Board ruled in favor of UMFA. UMFA commenced an action seeking damages to compensate its members for their monetary losses incurred because of Manitoba’s substantial interference and disruption in the collective bargaining process. The trial judge found Manitoba’s mandate resulted in a significantly different wage position being adopted late in the bargaining process. The trial judge determined that Manitoba’s conduct caused the strike and ordered compensation, vindication and deterrent damages and damages for loss of salary while on strike....
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