BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA – CUPE members attending a pair of weekend bargaining conferences were united in their determination to have key issues addressed in contract talks.
CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill, attending a conference for K-12 members on Friday, said that more than 40,000 CUPE members in B.C. are ready to have their voices heard at the bargaining table.
CUPE’s close to 9,000 university workers in B.C. have already begun bargaining and were also meeting this weekend.
“The government has been pretty busy getting its message out about the ‘bargaining framework’—now it’s our turn,” said O’Neill, adding that all CUPE members are looking for security, fairness and respect in their new contracts.
“Money is important, for sure, but the government needs to know that unless it is also prepared to discuss serious concerns our members have about workplace issues, there won’t be much progress,” said O’Neill. “CUPE negotiators will do everything possible to meet the government’s deadline (March 31), but they’d better not bring concessions to the table. We’re bargaining from our agenda this time.”
Along with K-to-12 support and university workers, other members either in or preparing for bargaining are in the health care, community social services, colleges and transportation sectors. Wage increases, job security and making up for lost ground are key issues for most members.