VICTORIA – CUPE support workers at the University of Victoria have served 72-hour strike notice. Notice was served today with the clock starting on Sunday – putting the 1,500 members of CUPE locals 917 and 951 in a legal position for job action at 8am on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
The locals say job action is imminent, but stress there is no immediate plan to shut down the entire campus. They add that the goal is not to negatively impact students, but to pressure the university to return to the bargaining table.
CUPE Local 951 represents the office, technical and child care workers at UVic and CUPE Local 917 represents electricians, plumbers, supervisors, grounds workers, janitors, painters, carpenters, housekeepers, lifeguards, utility drivers, food service staff, auditorium staff, security officers, houseworkers, cooks and mechanical trades workers.
The last contract expired in 2010. Despite meeting with the employer more than 20 times over the past two years, virtually no substantial progress towards a new collective agreement has been made. The main issues are job security, inflation protection and a fair and reasonable wage increase.
Strike notice was originally served in June, and then delayed while the university and the union negotiated essential service levels. That process was completed today (Friday).
A third CUPE local at UVic, CUPE 4163, represents 1,500 sessionals and teaching assistants and has yet to take a strike vote.
CUPE representatives say they will be distributing information on the importance and impacts of job action to students on Tuesday, Sept. 4. More information is available on their website at cupeuvic.ca