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October 18, 2012

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SFU Downtown to face picket lines

VANCOUVER—Frustrated by SFU’s refusal to negotiate, members of CUPE Local 3338 will set up picket lines on its downtown Vancouver campus tomorrow.  Close to 70 CUPE members at SFU Harbour Centre and SFU Woodward’s will walk off the job and picket Friday morning starting at 8:30 am. Other campus buildings will not be affected. 

Job action is escalating on several campuses as well as at SFU. Overtime bans are active at UBC, UNBC and TRU. CUPE 4879 at TRU took out about 150 members on Monday to picket the open learning building.  CUPE 116 at UBC has been escalating rotating job action all week taking out plant operations, waste management and custodial workers and picketing the material recovery facility and the composting site.

CUPE 3338 reports virtually no progress in more than two years of talks.  “SFU has arbitrarily decided it will not sit down and bargain in good faith with us,” says CUPE 3338 president Lynne Fowler. “It has chosen instead to focus on its broken pension plan and deny its CUPE employees the right to negotiate a new collective agreement,” she adds.

“With inflation, our members are actually falling behind in real terms,” says 3338 business agent John Bannister, “unlike top SFU administers who have been enjoying substantial annual increases while refusing to negotiate with us.”  Bannister adds that “at this point we feel we have no alternative but to escalate our job action – we have to pressure SFU to come to the table with a mandate to settle.” About 300 CUPE 3338 members at the main Burnaby campus held a silent protest picket last week during convocation.

Other universities have reached or are working towards tentative agreements. CUPE 2950 at UBC has a tentative four-year deal with no concessions, 0-0-2-2% wage increases and language improvements. The 2950 executive is recommending ratification.   Contract talks are underway this week at UBC, UVic, Thompson Rivers and the University of Northern BC.

Time:              Friday, Oct. 19, 8:30 am

Location:         SFU Harbour Centre 515 West Hastings, Vancouver
                      SFU Woodward’s 149 West Hastings, Vancouver 

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