KAMLOOPS—CUPE members working at Thompson Rivers University have sent a clear message to their employer - get back to the bargaining table! The members of CUPE local 4879 have voted 83 per cent in favor of strike action. More than two thirds (68 per cent) of the local's 607 members took part in the vote.
CUPE 4879 president Lois Rugg said the high voter turnout and the strong response reflect the level of frustration among support workers at TRU. "Our contract expired in 2010, we have met with the employer about a dozen times and we have still made virtually no progress towards a new contract. At this point we feel our only option is job action," she said. The main issues remain job security, inflation protection and a fair and reasonable wage increase. The workers were already denied a pay hike in 2010 and 2011 under the province's Zero Mandate.
Now that the strike vote mandate has been approved, CUPE 4879 can apply for 72-hour strike notice which will place it in a legal position to take job action on campus. Rugg explained that, "our goal is not to negatively impact students, who are also facing funding and service cuts as well as higher tuition. Our goal is to pressure the university to return to the table and negotiate in good faith for a fair and reasonable collective agreement."
CUPE support and teaching assistant workers at universities across the province have also been pushed to take strike votes including locals at UBC, UVic and UNBC. CUPE local 3338 at SFU announced today that it will hold a strike vote at the end of this month.