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

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5 million for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

Resident mistakes screaming teens’ late-night plunge for an emergency

Big week for Oak Bay Police who respond to rampant theft in Oak Bay, host Polar Plunge

Victims tell of abuse at hands of Victoria substitute teacher

Harry Charles Sadd pleaded guilty to eight charges that took place between 1970 to 1982

2020 Budget: ICBC ‘dumpster fire’ to turn into $86M surplus, NDP say

ICBC operating with $91-million deficit for 2019-2020 fiscal year

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

VIDEO: A plane crash in Saanich leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Feb. 18

Most Read