Negotiators for more than 850 administrative, technical and library workers at Carleton University are frustrated and disappointed at the university’s refusal to negotiate an end to the labour dispute that enters its third week today.
“Carleton hasn’t demonstrated any degree of openness about finding a solution that addresses the union’s concerns and members’ priorities,” said Jacynthe Barbeau, national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union that represents the striking workers.
“As an employer, Carleton has clearly failed to respect its commitment to bargaining with the intention of finding a resolution.”
Workers’ hopes were raised when Carleton’s negotiators sent an e-mail to the union last week, committing to constructive discussions in an effort to find a solution that would respect the position of both parties.
However, after talks resumed on Sunday, it became clear that the university was intent on maintaining the very position that led to the job action on March 5. It was the first time the parties had returned to the bargaining table since mediation talks broke off on March 4.
“The members of CUPE 2424 simply want to retain the section of their contract that keeps their pension secure,” said Barbeau.
“They’re not asking to put anything extra into their agreement; they just want to uphold the rights they already have. It’s a completely reasonable position; the support we’ve received from the university community and beyond is proof of that. It’s high time that Carleton recognized it too.”
On Tuesday morning (March 20) Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party, will address CUPE 2424 members and Carleton students when he joins workers on the picket line at the Bronson Avenue entrance at 10:45 a.m. And today (Monday), CUPE 2424 and Carleton’s Graduate Students’ Association will host a “student appreciation barbecue,” described as an opportunity for open dialogue with students who have been affected by the labour dispute.