REGINA/SASKATOON, SK University workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1975 are voting today and tomorrow on whether to support job action to achieve a fair collective agreement.
The union negotiating committee is seeking a strong strike mandate from its 2,400 members who work in food services, maintenance, clerical and many other areas at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina.
Only CUPE 1975 members directly employed by the two universities are involved in this strike vote.
Voting takes place today at the University of Saskatchewan (north side of McLean Hall) at 12 noon and 4:30 p.m. and tomorrow at the University of Regina (Room 170 of the Riddell Centre) at 12 noon.
“We want to negotiate a fair contract for our members, but the employer wants to weaken our seniority rights, reduce our health benefits and erode our grievance process,” says union spokesperson Don Puff. “And that’s just the short list.”
Puff says the membership needs to send a clear message to the employer that they are not prepared to accept concessions. A strike vote is one way to do that, he says.
“Our hope is that our strike vote will motivate the employer to adopt a more reasonable position at the bargaining table when contract talks resume on September 8,” says Puff, adding job action is a last resort.
“A lot of our members have children attending university – and some of our members are students too. So we certainly don’t want to disrupt studies,” he says.
But given that CUPE 1975 members have been without a contract since December 2003, this month’s contract talks are critical, he says.
The union will announce the results of the strike vote on Thursday.
CUPE 1975 represents about 600 members at the University of Regina and 1,800 members at the University of Saskatchewan.
For more information, contact:
See also: cupe1975.ca