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Burnaby-Joint provincial bargaining between the unions representing college and institute workers, members of BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and employers for the eleven post secondary colleges and institutes have taken another turn as bargaining committees today announced their intention to seek strike mandates beginning in January, 2000. Provincial bargaining reached an impasse two weeks ago, on December 3.

“The ’so-called’ settlement package presented by the employer on December 3rd fell considerably short of the union’s expectations.” said Donn Stanley, CUPE national representative. “Not only did it not address wages, benefits or other major union proposals, the package included three major concessions and that’s unacceptable.”

Key issues in the dispute include contracting out, low wage redress, and equity with college instructors and faculty in a number of areas. BCGEU negotiator, Barbara Offen, said the employer is treating support and technical staff as “second class citizens” by refusing similar contract improvements achieved by instructors and faculty.

“Support and technical staff are the backbone of our college system,” Offen said. “They deserve to be treated fairly and equitably at the bargaining table.”

Dates for strike votes will be announced early in the new year.

Information: CUPE Negotiator,Donn Stanley or Carol Nielson, Communications Representative, BCGEU (604) 291-9611.

December 20, 1999