Dear Ms. Ethier,
Re: Deloitte and Contracting Out at Laurier University
I am writing to you as CUPE National is a long time client of Deloitte. CUPE is concerned that recent decisions at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) will have repercussions for Deloitte and other partners of the WLU’s Lazaridis Institute.
As you might know, Deloitte has many direct and indirect associations with WLU and the Lazaridis Institute. The new chair of WLU board, John Bowey, was previously a Deloitte executive and in 2011 Deloitte prepared the Enterprise Risk Management report that set in motion the budgeting priorities that have lead to the current employment issues at WLU.
In addition, WLU has an MBA program that has students who work at and with Deloitte and have associate professors and instructors who work at Deloitte. Recently, WLU had a scholarship paid for by Deloitte and WLU has developed programs in business economics/professional programs geared to providing professional services organizations like Deloitte, a stream of ready graduates. There was also recent announcement of a partnership between Deloitte and the Lazaridis Institute to support growth of Canadian tech firms in the Waterloo area.
CUPE does not see how it makes good business sense for a leading WLU technology institute to be promoting high paying technology jobs with Deloitte’s support, but at the same time paying their own cleaners poverty wages.
During negotiations, CUPE Local 926 who represents skilled trades, grounds and custodial workers at WLU discovered WLU’s medium-term plan is to replace as many Local 9261 s members’ jobs as possible with low-paid contractors. Throughout negotiations, WLU has refused to discuss any terms that would stop the contracting-out.
Even an attempt by the union to protect minimum numbers covered by the Collective Agreement were rejected without reason.
According to numbers provided by WLU, the nine contracted cleaners at Lazaridis building only save WLU $15,000 a year each for a total of approximately $136,000. WLU revenues in 2014 were $333,149,000 meaning the university is saving only 0.04% of its budget by driving cleaners into poverty. WLU Faculty Association’s accountants have shown the university has had budget surpluses for ten years and the salary of the president of WLU is over $370,000 a year.
It would be unfortunate if Deloitte was impacted by the public campaign against WLU’s employment practices.
I would ask that Deloitte do everything within it’s power to encourage WLU to come to a fair resolution of these issues before a labour disruption occurs.