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

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Archaeologist monitoring building work on Tsawout First Nation amid burial ground concerns

Some in community claim construction has potentially disturbed historic graves, contractor disagrees

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read