Strike could mean no classes at TRU
If unionized support staff at Thompson Rivers University decide to walk off the job, it could mean no classes on campus.
That’s the word from the president of the university’s faculty association, which has sent out memos to its membership outlining its “strike policy.”
Jason Brown, president of the TRU Faculty Association, said members are aware of the association’s policy to not cross picket lines.
“If there was a full-blown strike, then it’s possible there would be no classes,” he said.
“But, if it’s localized to one or two buildings, then it may not affect campus-wide.”
CUPE Local 4879, which represents 607 support workers on TRU’s campus, served 72-hour strike notice on Monday, Oct. 1 — meaning they could walk off the job as early as Thursday, Oct. 4.
The union represents filing clerks, janitors, cafeteria aides, research assistants and book buyers.
In August, 68 per cent of local membership voted 83 per cent in favour of strike action.
The issues, the union says, are job security, inflation protection and wage increases.
CUPE workers on the campus of the University of Victoria issued strike notice last month, and have been conducting escalating job action — including overtime bans and some building closures — since the start of the fall semester.
In addition to TRU’s unionized support staff, CUPE workers on the campuses of Simon Fraser University of the University of Northern B.C. also issued strike notice on Monday.
Christopher Seguin, TRU’s vice-president of advancement, stressed there have been no interruptions for Kamloops students as of yet.
“Currently, there are no interruptions to classes and services at TRU and we remain hopeful that the parties can reach an agreement without disruptions,” he said.
“It’s important to note that negotiations have never stopped, and we’re extremely optimistic.”
Seguin said the university is working hard to come to a resolution.
“We’re going to do everything we can within our mandate to come to a fair settlement and minimize any disruptions to our students,” he said.
Brown echoed that sentiment.
“No one wants a labour dispute ever,” he said.
“Hopefully, the parties can resolve their issues.”
The two sides are slated to meet again on Oct. 18.