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Management triggers countdown to a possible lockout

Food service workers at Western University are being treated like second-class citizens, charges the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 600 workers who serve students, faculty, staff and visitors at the university campus. The workers are seeking a fair collective agreement similar to what was offered to other staff on campus while management is singling them out for unfair treatment, including triggering a countdown to possibly locking the food service workers out as early as August 8, well before students and faculty resume full operations after the summer break.

“It is very unfair for management to treat food service workers with such disrespect and disregard for their work,” said Fred Blake, CUPE national representative. “These workers are already the lowest paid on campus, and management is not offering them the same deal that they gave to other university staff and now they could potentially be locking these workers out.”

The workers are trying to reach a fair collective agreement after their contract expired on June 30, 2014. Management called for a ‘no-board’ report from the Ministry of Labour, triggering a 17-day countdown to a lockout or strike. “This is an issue of fairness and equity,” continued Blake. “Why would Western not treat all their staff equally; after all, these food service workers work for the same employer, work on the same campus and serve the same students as other university staff.”

“Just because they serve a double/double and not a double major does not mean management can treat our members unfairly,” said Blake. “All our members want is a similar agreement to what was offered to other staff on campus. Is that too much to ask for? We don’t think so.”

Both parties will return to the bargaining table for mediation on July 31. “We are eager to return to negotiations as it will give Western University one more chance to show that they can treat all their workers the same way and that, indeed, ‘the Western Experience,’ as the university so proudly proclaims, includes fairness and equality for all.”

For more information, please contact:

Fred Blake, CUPE National Representative, 519-868-4006
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 905-739-3999