Saskatoon/ Regina: CUPE 1975 members at the province’s two major universities will walk off the job at 11 a.m. today to participate in rallies demanding their employers return to the table with a fair contract settlement. *
“We do not want a long protracted dispute that disrupts campus life,” says Brad McKaig, chair of CUPE Local 1975. “We just want the standard public sector wage increase and more funding to maintain our benefit plan. The fact the employer is offering our members 2.5%, 2.75% and 3% suggests they are more interested in producing a strike than finding a settlement,” he adds.
The 2,400 CUPE 1975 members at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina include: cafeteria and food service workers, caretakers, security officers, clerical staff, library service workers, duplicating and printing staff, engineers and boiler operators, trades people, medical and lab technologists, nursing and dental assistants, farm workers and animal attendants.
McKaig says many members are angry that they have to strike to achieve the standard wage settlement, while senior university administrators are receiving salary increases of a whopping 11.77% a year at the U of S, and nearly 6% a year at the U of R. “It’s this type of double-standard that produces an 89% strike vote,” he says.
Workers at both universities are expected to return to work at 1 p.m. today.
“Instead of spending time drawing up contingency plans for a strike, we want the employer to spend time producing a settlement to this dispute. That’s why we are returning to work today,” says Don Puff, president of CUPE 1975-01 in Regina.
But Puff warns there will be more job action if the employer continues to tie increments to performance reviews.
CUPE 1975 members have been without a new agreement since December 31, 2006.
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(*The strike vote does not include CUPE 1975 members employed at the First Nations University, Aramark, the USSU, Prairie Swine, PCS Elstow, MacKenzie Art Gallery and the U of S Faculty Club. They are covered under separate contract agreements.)
For more information contact: Brad McKaig in Saskatoon at 229-6730
or Don Puff in Regina at 537-3199