A Message to CUPE 926 Members

Dear Members of CUPE Local 926 –

Laurier has requested a “no board” report from the Ministry of Labour which means that the Ministry has set a lock out and/or strike deadline for 12.01 a.m. on July 10th. In response to this aggressive action by Laurier we must be prepared to strike. The Union Negotiating Committee, Laurier and the Ministry of Labour are meeting on Monday, July 4th and if needed Friday, July 8th in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues.

If no resolution is achieved, all members should be prepared for strike action beginning Sunday morning at 12.01 a.m.   Should members be locked out by Laurier or the Union decides to start strike action you will receive a phone call from one of our strike committee members advising that strike action will begin and what times you are to report to the picket line. All members will be expected to report to the picket line at the WLU main entrance, University Avenue. The Strike Committee will meet on Tuesday, July 5th. More details will be provided via newsletter on Wednesday or Thursday next week.

If Laurier locks out the members but allows the employers’ preferred employees to cross the picket line, CUPE will file a complaint immediately with the Ministry of Labour. It is expected that the Ministry of Labour will direct Laurier to stop allowing bargaining unit members to cross the picket line in a lock out situation.

Wilfrid Laurier has been misleading members in this respect and CUPE Legal Counsel has indicated that the Ministry would stop this type of action.

The outstanding issues relate to Article 20.01 Contracting Out and the post-retirement benefit costs to be co-shared at 85 percent employer paid and 15 percent employee paid.

The Local Negotiating Committee strongly rejects Laurier’s proposed amendments to Article 20.01. In our opinion, if we accept Laurier’s proposed language, it will affect current custodians and that some of your co-workers will lose their jobs to contractors.

We are talking about your co-workers, some who have recently experienced the hardship of being laid off for months because of lost income and benefits. This is the here and now, not a “maybe” affecting members in the future.

The Negotiating Committee is also concerned that payment of benefit costs will cause financial hardship for retired employees. The current pension plan amount will make it difficult for some of our retirees to maintain payments of 15 per cent of benefit costs each month.

The Negotiating Committee wants to caution members that should the bargaining unit members not stand up and fight for rights within the collective agreement, you can be sure that Laurier will come after more negotiated language in the collective agreement next round of bargaining. If members roll over this time, they will likely use these same tactics to amend provisions such as the sick leave plan that they withdrew during this process. These same strategies have been used at University of Queens and Windsor to reduce custodial staff as well as benefits in their collective agreements.

As a member of a Union we must stand for solidarity and unity. Each member should want to stand up for their fellow co-workers and support each other and assist in maintaining job security and benefits. If all members in each classification are prepared to strike, it would send a strong message to Laurier that we will not accept their treatment and downgrading of our skills, hard work and dedication we bring every day to the campus community. By going out on strike, Laurier would have a difficult time finding replacements for Stationary Engineers and other tradesmen and it would create a huge financial burden to cover costs to replace our workers. If Laurier wants to be fiscally responsible, research has shown that the best way to do this is to continue to employ bargaining unit members.

Support your Negotiating Committee by wearing your wristbands and if you haven’t signed the online petition found on the Local 926 website, please do so today.