University CUPE members vote for strike action
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members working at Thompson Rivers University have voted in favour of strike action.
Members of CUPE local 4879 voted 83 per cent in favour of strike action, with 68 per cent of the union local's 607 members taking part in the vote.
"Our contract expired in 2010," said CUPE 4879 president Lois Rugg.
"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."
The main issues remain job security, inflation protection and a wage increase.
Union members did not receive a raise in 2010 and 2011 as part of the B.C. Liberal government's net-zero mandate.
As a result of the strike-action vote, CUPE 4879 can apply for 72-strike notice, which would put the union in a legal position to take job action on campus.
"Our goal is not to negatively impact students, who are also facing funding and service cuts as well as higher tuition," Rugg said. "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 locals at UBC, the University of Victoria and the University of Northern B.C. in Prince George have also voted in favour of strike action.
CUPE local 3338 at Simon Fraser University will hold a strike vote at the end of this month.
CUPE workers at TRU consist of support workers in a variety of fields, including filing clerks, janitors, cafeteria aides, research assistants and book buyers.
Union members have been working under provisions of the most-recent contract, which expired two years ago.
For a look at the wage provisions of the contract, which was effective April 1, 2009, go online here.