NANAIMO—Vancouver Island University support workers have voted overwhelmingly for strike action. The 300-member CUPE local gave its bargaining committee an 86% strike mandate this week.
CUPE 1858 president Deborah Hopper says, “we listened to the voice of our members and the message received was loud and clear – we’re tired of waiting.” The local has met with the employer a dozen times since their last contract expired in 2010.
Hopper says the problem is not the employer but the provincial government. “Every indication we have is that the sticking point is with the province and that’s what our members are upset about.” None of us wants to be on strike but we are prepared to take job action to let the province know just how serious we are.”
Hopper says the union is ready and willing to return to the bargaining table if the government is serious about a settlement, “and that includes mediation.” Hopper adds that, “the issue is fairness – we want a settlement in line with other recent public sector settlements and we won’t accept less than that.”
Government workers and fellow CUPE university support workers at several campuses have recently reached new collective agreements for 2%-2% with improvements to language and no concessions.
CUPE 1858 members include food services workers, clerical staff, facilities workers and library staff. Vancouver Island University has CUPE staff at all of its five campuses.