University of Victoria paint shop employees Len Ashmore (with paint sprayer) and Rob Barton (with ground glass) repaint crosswalk lines on Ring Road as they get the campus ready for the new school year. Unions representing UVic employees remain far apart from UVic management

UVic on path toward strike in September

Labour board to rule on essential services after negotiations fail

University of Victoria students may be greeted by picketing support staff when classes return in early September.

Last month, mediation between two unions – CUPEs 917 and 951 – and the university on essential service levels failed. Three days of hearings (Aug. 21, 22 and 24) have been set for both parties to plead their cases to the Labour Relations Board before it adjudicates essential services and staffing levels.

“(UVic) came with a long list of jobs they deemed essential,” said Doug Sprenger, president of CUPE 917. “I can’t be specific. Let’s just say our list of (essential jobs) was short, and their list was long.”

Kane Kilbey, UVic’s associate vice-president of human resources, said in a July 20 notice posted online: “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.”

The two CUPE unions, which represent some 1,500 non-teaching jobs such as tradespeople, food service staff, childcare workers, and office and library staff, are negotiating in concert with one another. They have both been without contracts since March 31, 2010.

Students won’t face disruptions in the classroom, but could find limited cafeteria or library services, depending on essential services levels set by the labour board.

Sprenger says they want to respect students’ education as much as possible, but noted they’ll be providing information to students in September on what to do when faced with a picket line.

“We think that students returning to the University of Victoria have a very strong interest in getting this labour dispute resolved, and feel it’s an important time to resolve it,” Sprenger said. “It’s a time when all eyes are on the university and students anyway, regardless of any disruptions.”

Loree Wilcox, CUPE national servicing rep, told the News last month the unions and UVic were “too far apart” for any negotiation progress to be made.

According to CUPE, there remain nine areas of dispute between the union and the employer, including job security, benefits and inflation protection.

Late last week, CUPE B.C. said in a press release, “The B.C. Liberals are (fast-tracking) a new plan to slash jobs and money from B.C.’s already hemorrhaging college and university budgets.”

CUPE says the province’s administrative service delivery transformation project could mean privatization of union jobs at post-secondary institutions.

“It appears the plan is to be implemented for the 2012-13 school year. What is not clear is exactly how many jobs are at stake,” the press release reads.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Advanced Education who asked not to be identified wrote in an email that CUPE’s concerns are premature.

“Neither the government nor the institutions have any predetermined idea of how savings and improvements will be achieved,” the spokesperson wrote.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Vancouver Island homeowners buy more earthquake insurance than the rest of B.C.

Insurance Bureau of Canada says that’s because the perception of risk is greater on the Island

Missing 72-year-old man last seen in Langford

Albert Bedard has been missing since Oct. 12

West Shore teens fined for possession of pot on Wednesday

Two teens receive $230 fines for smoking pot in public

District of Oak Bay issues notice to cease tent city

The notice is effective immediately

Persons Day celebrates historic achievement of five suffragettes

Landmark case 89 years ago declared women “persons” making them eligible for the Senate

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land for expansion

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

Most Read