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Date: September 04, 2012

UVic Perspective On Pending CUPE Job Action: "Disappointment"

The University of Victoria today expressed disappointment that CUPE locals 917 and 951 are poised to take job action on Wednesday Sept. 5. While the two locals have spent the summer putting themselves in a legal position to take job action, they have yet to respond with a counter offer to the university’s settlement offer made nearly two and a half months ago.

Last week, they asked provincial mediator Mark Atkinson to terminate his role in assisting the negotiation process.

Most other CUPE locals at universities or colleges in BC have been in extended negotiations with their institutions. No others are taking job action.

“The university put a strong settlement offer on the table in late June, which included an offer of across-the-board wage hikes in both 2012 (2 per cent) and 2013 (1.5 per cent). It’s consistent with the provincial “cooperative gains” mandate and, in light of the challenging economic environment, what UVic can afford,” says UVic’s Associate Vice-President Human Resources Kane Kilbey.

The university has been negotiating with the two locals since fall 2010. The negotiations for 2010 and 2011 are still being conducted under the provincial “net-zero” mandate. While three-quarters of the agreements in the public sector were settled under that mandate, including those in health care, education, social services and the provincial government, only three of the CUPE locals at BC’s 25 colleges and universities have reached agreements under net-zero. UVic concluded net-zero agreements with its Faculty Association and Professional Employees Association in 2010.

Job action can take many forms from study sessions, rallies, work-to-rule, and overtime bans to information pickets, rotating pickets and ultimately a strike. “We are disappointed,” says Kilbey. “We have had a long history of good labour relations and we are proud of the fact that we have only experienced one four-hour strike in the history of the university.”

While CUPE 917 and 951 are under no legal obligation to inform the university community about what forms of job action they will take or where or when, some job action is expected tomorrow.

“We’ll use our special purpose website at uvic.ca/info/jobaction to keep the community posted as soon as we hear what form CUPE job action is taking and can assess its impact on campus operations,” says Kilbey.

Most forms of job action will have an impact on students, and all student services will be reduced or become unavailable if a full-scale strike were to occur. In the event of a full strike, UVic will take every reasonable measure to remain open and offer as wide a range of courses, supports and services as possible under the circumstances.

Media contacts:

Bruce Kilpatrick, Director UVic Communications

To book an interview with Kilpatrick, please contact Denise Helm, Manager of Media Relations and Public Affairs at 250-721-7656.

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