solidarity across unions

Sunday, January 04, 2004

UVic TAs on verge of strike Mediator books out of UVic negotiations. Campus on the brink of strike. VICTORIA – Mediator Grant McArthur has booked out of negotiations between the University of Victoria and its teaching assistants, language instructors and computing staff. According to the union (CUPE 4163) representing those workers, the university must decide if it wants to resolve the contract dispute or risk campus-wide job action. The University, which posted an $18-million budget surplus during the last fiscal year has, so far, refused to make a reasonable offer during the current round of negotiations. Union negotiators requested mediation before Christmas as a means of moving negotiations forward. “We thought that mediation could help to resolve our differences by the New Year,” said Sherwin Arnott, chair of the local bargaining team. “However, it became clear on December 29th that the university has been told by the government to give the TAs zero percent wage increases. Our own University of Victoria president David Turpin who, himself, recently received a $60,000 wage increase, sits on the Public Sector Employees Council (PSEC) board,” said Sherwin, “and PSEC seems to be calling the shots.” CUPE 4163 members have been hit with major financial hardships in the last two years. Tuition has increased 70% yet there has been no corresponding wage increases for TAs. The university has offered workers nothing in terms of tuition protection and tuition is scheduled to increase again this spring. “The university’s offer does not even address tuition fee increases and would not amount to a wage increase,” says Arnott. Perplexed and frustrated CUPE 4163 has offered to accept binding arbitration in order to resolve the contract dispute without shutting down campus. Peter Hampton, the union’s strike coordinator says “Our members are becoming increasingly frustrated, they see through the smoke and mirrors that what management is putting forward as a proposal. It’s crap,” says Hampton, “management knows it and so do our members.” opeiu491 ========================= Derek Blackadder Organizing Representative CUPE/scfp Ontario Regional Office 1-800-362-0974 (416) 292-3999x255 (416) 292-2839 fax
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The Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions is a loose-knit coalition of labor unions in the USA and Canada that represents graduate students employed as teachers, researchers, and administrative staff.