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Thursday November 2, 2000

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Strike Shuts Down Canada University

By The Associated Press

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland - A strike by professors over salary increases dependent on their level of education shut down a major university in eastern Canada on Tuesday.

All classes at Memorial University in Newfoundland were canceled for 16,000 students and 760 faculty members after an all-night bargaining session failed to reach agreement on salary scales for professors.

The university then announced a midterm break expected later in November would begin yesterday, meaning no further classes would be held this week. Negotiations were expected to resume yesterday.

Professors at the university earn an average of $35,000 a year with the top pay just over $60,000. The average pay is about 20 percent less than the average for professors at similar Canadian universities, and the university has offered a 20.6 percent increase over three years.

Union leader Noel Roy said the Memorial University Faculty Association turned down the proposal because it included larger raises for professors with doctoral degrees, offering them 22 percent increases compared to 15.7 percent for faculty members without doctoral degrees.

"It splits the union," said Roy. "So we've put up the lines. We're on strike."

About 70 percent of the faculty at Memorial have doctoral degrees, and 60 percent of the union membership voted to strike.

"About 30 percent of us ... are getting minor increases," said Jon Church, a spokesman for the union's negotiating committee.

"I don't want to work at a university ... where there are going to be high-paid, high-flying research-type professors and low-paid grunts that do all the teaching."