Guelph University administration is putting students on the fast track to an October 3 lockout or strike, the President of Local 1334 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1334) warned today.
“If this administration put as much emphasis on sitting down and negotiating as they have into frightening students and staff, we wouldn’t be facing the risk of a lockout early next month,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, President of CUPE 1334.
Folk-Dawson was reacting to news Guelph University had requested from and received a ‘No Board’ report from the Ministry of Labour, triggering a countdown to a lockout or strike in 17 days unless the two sides reach an agreement.
“Our members will not be intimidated into accepting a contract that harms quality post-secondary education and decent jobs that are so vital to making Guelph a great place to live,” she added.
Earlier this week, members voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving their bargaining committee a mandate to take any and all steps needed to secure a fair agreement, including strike action, if necessary.
“It’s time for the university to recognize the contributions our members make to the Guelph University campus and to the broader community,” said Folk-Dawson.
CUPE Local 1334 represents approximately 235 trades, maintenance and service workers at the University of Guelph. Members have been without a collective agreement since April.
Workloads caused by Guelph University’s refusal to fill vacant positions, pensions and employment security remain key outstanding issues.
“The university manages by attrition, and the decrease in staff has resulted in heavy workloads and severely reduced quality in the services we provide,” said Folk-Dawson.
The union is scheduled to meet with university negotiators and a provincially-appointed mediator on October 1.
“Our intention is to remain at the table as long as necessary to achieve a collective agreement that’s fair to all parties and that protects quality post-secondary education at the university, provided a partner willing to negotiate with us sits at the table,” said Folk-Dawson.
For more information, please contact:
CUPE 1334 President
CUPE National Representative