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VANCOUVER — Citing “extreme conflict of interest” the Canadian Union of Public Employees today rejected Richard Longpr,0020the government’s choice for Industrial Inquiry Commissioner (IIC), appointed in the wake of legislation halting both strikes and mediation that had been taking place between CUPE members and their employer the University of British Columbia.

Judy Darcy, national president of CUPE and Connie Credico, CUPE universities’ bargaining co-ordinator in B.C. led the bargaining committees of the three CUPE locals who were affected by the government’s legislated end to both bargaining and strike, in a face-to-face meeting with Longpr 0074oday.

“We told Mr. Longpr 0074hat it was nothing personal,” said Judy Darcy, “but that CUPE simply could not accept that someone who is on the payroll of government can be a neutral party and have the independence to bring this labour dispute to a fair conclusion.”

Richard Longpr 0069s the assistant deputy minister of the Provincial Ministry of Skills Development and Labour.

“Mr. Longpr 006dore than anyone should be very aware of how much a perception of neutrality is important in the process we are being pushed into.” said Credico. How on earth are we to believe that he can shift from being a very directional player from the government’s point of view to a neutral third party whose primary interests have to do with reaching an equitable settlement and not the broader government privatization agenda that has been driving the current round of negotiations?”

CUPE is demanding that the provincial government, through its Labour Minister Graham Bruce, adhere to the practice of appointing an independent mediator/arbitrator who is acceptable to both sides.

When CUPE made it clear that they would not participate in the government’s process without participating in the choice of IIC Longpr 0061rranged for a meeting to take place with the Minister in Victoria tomorrow.

That meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. tomorrow in Victoria.


Connie Credico, CUPE universities coordinator