CUPE goes on strike at Wilfrid Laurier University
CUPE Local 926 at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) has gone on strike to oppose the imposition of terms giving the university freedom to contract out unionized work to poverty wage contractors.
Through negotiations it was discovered that WLU has already signed a multi-year contract with GDI Integrated Facility Services for the new Lazaridis building. GDI is one of North America’s largest corporations that provides facility services. GDI specializes in commercial janitorial, installation, maintenance and repair of HVAC-R, mechanical, electrical systems, damage restoration, as well as janitorial products manufacturing and distribution.
GDI would be able to contract all work currently provided by Local 926, not just cleaning services. From all indications, GDI employees make half of Local 926 members’ wages, and without benefits or pension.
- The entire cost to WLU Local 926 members (including wages, benefits, pensions) is less than 2% of WLU total yearly revenues.
- In 2015-16, WLU had a 21% increase in first-year student enrolment, whose fees make-up the majority of WLU revenues.
- WLU Faculty Association’s accountants have shown that the university has had budget surpluses for 10 years.
- The new Lazaridis Building is made up entirely of contract custodians from GDI Integrated Facility Services who are paid approx $13/hr, no benefits or pension.
- The 9 contracted cleaners at Lazaridis building only save WLU $15,134.50 a year each.
- Goal of WLU Administration is to outsource the lowest paid workers on campus to contract workers making poverty wages (without benefits) to save pennies on the dollar.
- WLU Administration has used aggressive private sector negotiation tactics and fear to drive division between different job classification of members of Local 926.
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