Saskatoon/ Regina: More than 2,400 CUPE 1975 members at the province’s two major universities will be off the job tomorrow, November 2, after the employers refused to soften their bargaining demands.
The 1,800 members at the University of Saskatchewan will commence picket duty on Friday at 7 a.m.; the 600 members at the University of Regina will be out at 7:30 a.m.
“This strike could have been averted if the employers had shown a willingness to compromise,” says Brad McKaig, chairperson of the CUPE 1975 bargaining unit.
The union contacted the provincial conciliator early Wednesday morning, hoping the employers would want to return to the bargaining table and avert a full-scale strike, following massive union rallies on Tuesday at both universities. “But we were advised that the employers had not changed their position and therefore the conciliator would not reconvene talks,” McKaig says.
The union’s request for a fair wage increase and improved funding to maintain their benefit plan “is more than reasonable,” says Don Puff, president of CUPE 1975-01 University of Regina.
“If the employers had addressed these two issues by dropping their demands for performance reviews and benefit cuts, we would be working out the details of a settlement today, instead of preparing for a full-scale strike,” Puff says.
The CUPE 1975 members at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina include: cafeteria and food service workers, caretakers, security officers, clerical staff, library service workers, duplicating and printing staff, engineers and boiler operators, trades people, medical and lab technologists, nursing and dental assistants, farm workers and animal attendants. *
CUPE 1975 members have been without a new agreement since December 31, 2006.
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(*The strike does not include CUPE 1975 members employed at the First Nations University, Aramark, the USSU, Prairie Swine, PCS Elstow, MacKenzie Art Gallery and the U of S Faculty Club. They are covered under separate contract agreements.)
For more information contact: Brad McKaig in Saskatoon at 229-6730
or Don Puff in Regina at 537-3199