Update on Mediation, and news from around the province.

Although the summer seems like an uneventful time for Teaching Assistants and university employees, much is happening. Our local, CUPE 2278, is still engaged in mediation. We were informed on Friday, June 9, that the Employer finally has their offer ready to present to the mediator – a whole month after we initially went to mediation. We anticipate that this offer will be tabled in the coming weeks, and you will be updated as things occur.

Our sister union, CUPE local 116, represents many workers on campus, including custodial services, plant operations and bookstore employees. On June 6, Local 116 served the University with ‘strike notice’ – a 72 hour warning that some kind of job action would be imminent effective Saturday June 10 (the executive of 116 had already received a strong positive strike mandate from its members back in March). Then, on June 9, the Employer filed for mediation. This compels local 116 to meet with the Employer in front of a mediator. It does not negate the strike notice, it merely postpones it until either an agreement can be reached in mediation, or else the mediator is asked by one of the parties to ‘book-out’ (i.e., end mediation).

Over at the University of Victoria, CUPE locals 917 and 951 (the approximate equivalent of our locals 116 and 2950 at UBC) have followed a similar path. In the past two months, they both received strong positive strike mandates from their membership, since they have been without a contract since March 31, 2010. Their Employer also filed for mediation recently. We have since heard that the Employer has tabled offers for both unions — although the terms are still not public. Stay tuned.

The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) at Simon Fraser University, the equivalent of local 2278, has also had great difficulty in negotiations with their Employer. No part of a contract – neither language nor monetary issues – has been agreed to yet by both parties. So, the executive of TSSU are going to their members for future direction: they will be holding a strike vote from June 26 to June 28.
Stay tuned for that too.

If you are curious as to why so many of our unions at B.C. post-secondary institutions are being treated this way by their Employers, then check out a perspective on this in the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/universities-and-colleges-wait-to-see-where-axe-will-fall/article4240856/?cmpid=rss1&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter