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Waterloo, Ont. – The University of Waterloo, home of Canada’s leading School of Optometry, continues to refuse vision care benefits for employees, currently in contract talks with the university administration. The 360 front-line workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are seeking a fair deal that includes vision care, while their employer pushes for concessions at the bargaining table.

It’s ironic that our members work for a university that trains future optometrists, but refuses to offer their own employees vision care benefits,” said Greg Macedo, president of CUPE 793.  “In addition to denying vision care benefits, the administration has demanded concessions, and put forward a sub-standard wage proposal – it’s a recipe for disaster.”  The workers, who provide food services, custodial, trades and grounds maintenance, have been working without a contract since May 1, 2008.  

Our members help keep this university running smoothly. We keep the campus clean, prepare meals for students, maintain buildings and grounds, and yet we are treated as second-class citizens by the administration,” said Macedo.  “Management cannot have a two-tier wage system by offering lower wage increases to workers who are already the lowest paid on campus – this shows a complete lack of respect for our members’ work.”

Management must come back to the table and address the outstanding issues,” continued Macedo. “They must also remove concession demands and stop trying to replace full-time workers with lower-paid part-time workers, without benefits.” Conciliation talks are scheduled for November 25.


For further information, please contact:

Greg Macedo   CUPE 793 President              519-885-1211 ext. 36793      

Jill Smyth        CUPE National Rep.               519-743-7781                           

James Chai     CUPE Communications          416-292-3999