May 09, 2013

SFU agrees to return to bargaining table

BURNABY – SFU has finally agreed to return to the bargaining table with CUPE Local 3338. The two sides are scheduled to meet Monday, May 13, for the first time in close to six months. 

SFU carries the dubious distinction of being the only public post-secondary institution in the province that has not signed a new collective agreement with its CUPE workers. 

Talks were initially stalled after SFU tried to keep problems with its ailing Pension Plan tied to contract talks with CUPE. That was ruled bad faith bargaining by the BC Labour Relations Board in November. An SFU appeal of that decision was rejected by the LRB last month.

CUPE 3338 president Lynne Fowler takes the university decision to return to the table as a “positive sign” adding that she expects SFU to respond Monday to the CUPE 3338 bargaining committee’s December offer to settle in line with the other BC university contracts.  BC’s other public post-secondary institutions all signed four-year agreements with 2 percent wage hikes in each of the final two years.

“Now that the Labour Board has upheld its ruling against SFU’s approach to talks so far, we are hoping we can move on and finally wrap up this round of bargaining with a fair and reasonable collective agreement,” says Fowler. 

CUPE National Representative Ross Idler says the union has always been very clear with SFU that concluding negotiations will open the way to focus on the pension plan.  “Once we know SFU has returned in good faith to conclude collective bargaining, we want to return to the employees’ joint pension committee with fellow employee groups APSA and Poly Party to work towards an improved and sustainable SFU Pension Plan.”

CUPE Local 3338 represents more than 1,000 clerical staff, computer operators, library assistants, technicians, lifeguards, financial aid advisors, building technologists, programmer analysts, buyers, stores clerks, information specialists, control clerks and resource specialists, schedulers and programmers at Simon Fraser University’s three campuses.

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