AMS Security has voted in favour of unionizing, but it won’t be through United Food and Commercial Workers 1518 (UFCW1518) as expected.Instead, they’ll be negotiating through the Canadian Office and Professional Workers Union (COPE378).
Andy Neufeld of UFCW 1518 explained the switch. “We felt it made more sense for the members to belong to a union that was already established at UBC, and especially adjacent to where they work already,” he said.
COPE378 is the union that represents staff at the AMS. The union also represents employees from BC Hydro, ICBC, Capilano University, Translink, Coast Mountain Bus and Terasen.
“We talked with the members about that, and they were in agreement, COPE 378 was in agreement, so it’s just in the process now of driving that forward,” said Neufeld.
AMS Security officer Irfan Reayat said he fears AMS Security will be penalized for successfully unionizing. He said that a number of steps taken by the AMS “indicates that the AMS management is least interested in addressing the real issues, but more inclined to punish the security department for their decision to get unionized.”
“In the end, I am satisfied with the election results, but anticipate retaliatory actions from the AMS management towards me and the rest of the security department that can include the replacement of some of the employees in the department,” he said. (?)
Once the switchover is complete, negotiations on pay and benefits between the AMS and the union will begin.
“We’re now moving into a period of collective bargaining, so that’s all we can really say at this point,” said AMS President Jeremy McElroy. “When an agreement has been made between the two organizations, that agreement will be made public…We’ll be able to comment further at that point.”
Reayat sees the possibility of things becoming more positive following negotiations.
“Notwithstanding the current circumstance, it is also a good opportunity for them to substantially improve the credibility of the AMS not only as a student organization, but also as a good employer,” he said.
//em//with files from Micki Cowan
—with files from Micki Cowan