Update: UVic unions won’t strike – yet

Talks begin next week to determine essential service levels at UVic

Despite having issued 72-hour strike notice Monday, picketing members of two CUPE unions at the University of Victoria likely won’t walk off the job until late July at the earliest.

“We will be entering immediately into essential services talks, so there won’t be any action until the essential services are resolved,” said Loree Wilcox, CUPE national servicing rep. “That will probably take the better part of July.”

Locals 917 and 951, which represent 1,500-or-so non teaching jobs such as tradespeople, food service staff, childcare workers, and office and library staff, have been without contracts since March 31, 2010.

Wilcox said the unions and the employer were “too far apart” for the mediator to do any mediating, and that Monday was the right time to issue the strike notice.

“It was going to be a long, drawn-out summer, and the discussions around essential services needs to happen. We thought it would be a wise idea to get them done with,” she said.

Both sides already agreed this week that essential services are applicable, as the Labour Relations Board (LRB) ruled in 2003 that the university operation is an essential service.

Wilcox says the unions and UVic will go through talks to negotiate essential service levels. If they can’t come to an agreement on those levels, it will go to the LRB.

“Once that’s done, the locals will decide from there where they need to go. If that means taking some action, there may be some action,” Wilcox said.

“While the (essential service) process is underway, the unions cannot legally initiate a strike or any other job action. Once essential services are finally settled, the unions may initiate job action anytime after another 48 hours has elapsed,” wrote Kane Kilbey, UVic’s associate vice-president of human resources in a bulletin Monday. “It continues to be the university’s desire to reach a negotiated settlement at the earliest possible opportunity. We remain hopeful that this can be achieved without a major disruption.”

During negotiations last Thursday and Friday (June 21 and 22), UVic presented an offer that included a two-per-cent wage increase effective July 1, 2012, and a 1.5-per-cent increase on April 1, 2013.

“We believe this is a strong offer in light of our current fiscal circumstances,” Kilbey wrote.

Wilcox responded, saying the negotiations aren’t only about money, but added it’s “a good starting point.”

A release posted to CUPE 951’s website Monday lists nine areas of dispute between the union and employer, including job security, benefits and inflation protection.

“We have to keep the pressure up. And if the pressure itself doesn’t culminate in a deal, then the locals … will take whatever actions needed to get the deal done,” Wilcox said. “It’s been too long, and it needs to be settled.”

The Professional Employees Association is also in ongoing collective agreement negotiations with the university. A release from that union’s labour relations officer says it supports the CUPE locals and will be “closely watching as the job action unfolds.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Saanich crash victim leaves behind pregnant wife and young son

The death of a Saanich man has left behind a grieving widow,… Continue reading

Material spill slows traffic on Highway 1 near Victoria

You may experience heavier traffic than normal if you’re headed from Victoria… Continue reading

PACE concert raises $6,500 for Langford family

Cathy Shotton recently donated her kidney to her daughter, Nicki

Cigarette butts the main culprit in lagoon beach cleaup

Thousands of butts were picked up by the Greater Victoria Green team recently

VicPD officers hurt in separate weekend incidents

Both altercations involved aggressive individuals encountered by police

Flu could see greater transmission in 2017

Health asking the public to get their flu vaccinations leading into a flu season that could start early and affect many in 2017.

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek farm search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

Flu could see greater transmission in 2017

Health asking the public to get their flu vaccinations leading into a flu season that could start early and affect many in 2017.

Nanaimo man assaulted, tied up and robbed at his home

Incident occurred about 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at a home on Beverly Drive

B.C. school trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

Chilliwack’s Barry Neufeld published the comments on his Facebook page

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Red hot Vikes women to host playoff opener

UVic Vikes This Week: basketball season kicks off at home

Most Read