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June 6, 2012

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CUPE 116 at UBC serves strike notice

VANCOUVER—CUPE Local 116 has served 72-hour strike notice at UBC. The 2,000 member local served notice this morning after contract talks stalled.

CUPE 116 president Colleen Garbe blames the provincial government, not the university, for the lack of progress in negotiations. UBC submitted a government-ordered “savings plan” to Victoria in February that was to be approved and returned in March. It has yet to be returned and there is no word from the BC Liberals on when it will be sent.

“We are tired of the government dragging its feet,” said Garbe.  The local served strike notice after a scheduled bargaining day on Tuesday had to be cancelled because of the missing “savings plan”.  The university was to have presented its monetary package at the meeting.

“We’re frustrated – we’ve been pushed to the point where we have to take action to try to jumpstart these negotiations,” said Garbe adding, “we have been without a contract since March 2010!”

The main issues for CUPE 116 are inflation protection, job security, pensions and benefit language.

Exactly what job actions will be taken will be announced after discussions with the membership, according to Garbe. She emphasized that students should know “that the union will do everything in our power to minimize any disruptions to services at UBC.”

CUPE 116 is one of three CUPE locals at UBC and represents custodial workers, dental assistants, IT services, machinists, mail clerks, stores keepers, trades people, gardeners, mechanics, sign makers and labourers. As well as food services, parking and access, campus security, lifeguards, landscape technologists, book store employees and more than 300 engineering and research technicians.

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