As supporters descended on the Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) campus, negotiators for Local 926 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 926) today (Friday, July 8, 2016) proposed binding arbitration to resolve the impasse between the two sides.
“There already is agreement on a number of issues,” said Allan Savard, president of CUPE 926, which represents custodians, groundskeepers and trades at WLU.
“For those issues where there is no agreement, we are prepared to put them before an impartial third party, whose decision we are prepared to accept,” he added.
The proposal for binding arbitration followed a successful information picket and rally attended by supporters from both the Kitchener-Waterloo region and beyond.
“We’re here today because this university’s administration has been trying to intimidate and bully hard-working, dedicated members of this campus community for months,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, who attended today’s event.
“People expect better from a publicly-funded institution that claims it is ‘inspiring minds,’ ” he added.
The university has demanded that CUPE 926 accept a contract that will give WLU a free hand to contract out good jobs on campus and turn them into insecure, unstable jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
WLU has already contracted out custodial services in the former Global Innovation Exchange (now Lazaridis Hall). The university has left many stable, secure positions vacant, and the new facility will now be cleaned by nine precariously-employed contractors.
“We are deeply concerned that WLU’s contracting out proposals will cause profound harm to this campus and the community. However, we believe it is in the best interests of all parties to move forward in a manner that ensures services continue while an impartial third party makes a determination on those issues we are unable to agree upon,” said Savard.
“While a negotiated agreement is always preferable, binding arbitration allows us to move forward in this particular circumstance,” he added.
At the university’s insistence, a lockout or strike deadline of 12:01 a.m., Sunday, July 10, is in effect.
For more information, please contact:
CUPE 926 President