Waterloo, ONT—With a university-imposed deadline of July 10 for either a lockout or strike looming, negotiators for Local 926 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 926) will return to the bargaining table Monday.
“Our goal is a negotiated settlement, but Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) is driving this bus to a lockout or strike,” said Allan Savard, president of CUPE 926, which represents custodial, groundskeeping and trades workers at WLU.
“The bargaining team feels very strongly that the University’s proposals would, if accepted, have a profound negative effect—not just on our members, but on the entire campus community,” he added.
Last week, WLU management requested a ‘No Board’ report from the Ministry of Labour, which set in motion a 17-day countdown to a lockout or strike if the two sides cannot reach an agreement. The University and CUPE 926 will be in a legal lockout or strike position on Sunday, July 10, at 12:01 a.m.
While Local 926 has not sought major improvements in this round of negotiations, WLU has demanded that employees accept concessions that would effectively give the university ‘carte blanche’ to contract out custodial work, turning stable, secure work into precarious work that pays poverty wages.
“That isn’t just bad for our members—it’s bad for the community and it’s bad for students, faculty and other staff, who will see the educational experience they and their families have sacrificed for diminished,” said Savard.
Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario will meet with CUPE 926 members and their bargaining committee Monday to offer the support and solidarity of the more than 258,000 CUPE members across the province.
“I want every member of Local 926 to know that they have the full support of every single CUPE member in Ontario, and we will marshal the resources at our disposal to stand with them every step of the way,” said Hahn.
Notice to Editors and producers—Fred Hahn will be available to answer media questions from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, July 4, as he meets with CUPE 926 members. Media wishing to speak with Fred Hahn should contact Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, to make arrangements.