Saskatoon/ Regina: University workers at both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina voted to give their union negotiating committee a strong strike mandate in response to the employers’ “best offer” which includes a long list of contract concessions.
CUPE 1975 members, who work in food services, maintenance, clerical and many other areas at the two universities, voted 89% in support of taking job action at two membership meetings this week. * The joint CUPE 1975 executive, which is meeting in Davidson today, counted the strike vote ballots yesterday.
“We are trying to negotiate a fair contract settlement for our members, but the employer wants to weaken our seniority rights, reduce our sick leave benefits and continue to red circle many employees – and that’s just the short list,” says CUPE 1975 chairperson Brad McKaig of the U of S.
CUPE 1975-01 president Don Puff of the University of Regina warns: “As long as these concessions are on the table, there won’t be a contract settlement.”
Puff says the employer also must negotiate bidding rights and other contract improvements for casual employees.
McKaig says he hopes the membership’s strong strike mandate persuades the employer to adopt a more reasonable position at the bargaining table when contract talks resume in Regina on October 2.
The 1,800 members of CUPE 1975 (Saskatoon) and 600 members of CUPE 1975-01 (Regina) have been without a new contract since December 31, 2006.
*The strike vote does not include CUPE 1975 members employed at the First Nations University, Aramark, the USSU, Prairie Swine Centre, 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