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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cyclists see potential and pitfalls in Sooke infrastructure

Getting from Sooke Road to Galloping Goose Trail a challenge for bike riders

Bear spotted walking on McKenzie Avenue sidewalk in Saanich

Urban sightings prompt warnings from Saanich Police Department

National drive-by art show rolls in Victoria on Saturday

Map shows drivers where local artists have set up displays in windows, balconies, driveways

University of Victoria parking lot hosts drive-in movies

The Breakfast Club, Hook and The Life Aquatic shown on a 40-foot screen

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read