Having failed in his first editorial on the UNBC strike to demonstrate understanding of basic statistics, evidently Mr. Godbout decided to double-down in his latest, equally uninformed missive ("Failing grades...").
He asserts that the action that suspended the strike could have been taken by either side before the strike began. Article 55 of the Labour Code intervenes in the natural bargaining process, providing for a mediator or arbitrator to facilitate an agreement "after negotiations have failed." A negotiation process was continuing during the strike. It only failed when the administration chose to invoke the article.
It is a principle of labour negotiations that either party prefers a negotiated to a mediated or arbitrated settlement. It is unlikely that the Labour Relations Board would even have agreed to mediate the dispute before negotiations broke down. Consequently, it is entirely unrealistic for Mr. Godbout to assert that "the last two weeks of no classes was for nothing."
The greatest irony, however, was Godbout's lament that "[i]t will become increasingly difficult to attract both faculty and leaders to a university in the middle of a civil war."
During the entire job action, he was blithely dismissive of the central issue in the dispute, as if having by far the worst salary structure of any university in Canada were irrelevant to attracting and retaining good faculty. UNBC's administration itself, as indicated in all its external communications, accepts this patently obvious fact.
Godbout is right about one thing - relationships between faculty and administration are likely to be uncomfortable for a while. But nothing will be as toxic for recruitment and retention as a continuation of the compensation trajectory UNBC has been on for more than two decades. If the headhunter who recruited me in 1992 had told me that I would end up losing nearly a quarter million dollars over a career for the privilege of being a founding member, I know that my decision would have been very different as any rational person's would be today.
I'm pretty sure that those "many founders... and longtime financial supporters" of UNBC, to whom Mr. Godbout alludes, did not have in mind supporting an institution that is a university in name only. His misplaced invective should be directed where it belongs - to a provincial government that never really wanted a university in the north and has ignored its needs for decades.