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VANCOUVER UBCs plan to cut up to 26 security staff and replace them with untrained students will put the university community at risk, says CUPE, the union representing security workers.

The university is demanding that we violate our own collective agreement or face layoffs, said Colleen Garbe, vice-president of CUPE Local 116. If the union does not agree, the university will layoff two-thirds of the staff as of Nov. 17, 2003.

When you replace trained professional security staff with untrained personnel in highly dangerous situations, you have a disaster waiting to happen, Garbe said.

The volunteer Safewalk program is a wonderful supplement to a professional security force, she added. But to place these young people in harms way and compromise the safety of students, faculty and university staff is unconscionable.

Security staff are almost always the first response to a campus incident. They are trained in conflict resolution, fire safety, emergency response, first aid, CPR, crisis intervention, and have a Class 4 license to transport passengers. Well-trained security is a crucial part of a safe campus.

Instead of improving safety, the universitys proposal has the campus community up in arms. The womens studies department has voiced concerns about security levels on campus.

CUPE 116 is committed to a safe campus, which is such a huge issue. If the university wants to address scheduling issues, they need to meet with us, not announce layoffs that jeopardize safety, said Garbe. Instead of presenting us with a workable proposal, they gave us pink slips. We would love to meet, but they wont give us a proposal.


Colleen Garbe, vice-president Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 116
Phone: 604-809-6616 cellular or 604-822-6116 office.