Thursday, August 28, 2014
Last updated: 3 hours ago

CUPE job action continues with administrative building pickets

Stock photo Kai Jacobson/The Ubyssey

Job action on campus continued today with picket lines outside the General Services Administration Building (GSAB) and Mary Bollert Hall.

CUPE 116 President Colleen Garbe said the union picketed the GSAB because UBC’s chief negotiator with CUPE 116′s office is in the building.

UBC Parking Services is housed in the GSAB, so the parking office was closed for the day. Director of UBC Public Affairs Lucie McNeill said that parking was enforced by managers for the day.

“Our parking office has closed for the day; however, parking is being enforced, so it would be wrong for people to conclude that they can park for free on campus, because people will be ticketed and will be towed if they need to be towed,” said McNeill.

The union also picketed Mary Bollert Hall. Garbe said the union chose that building because it houses CUPE 2950′s offices. CUPE 2950 is the union that represents library and clerical workers on campus. CUPE 2950 will be holding a strike vote at the end of the month. Garbe said all members of CUPE 2950 chose not to cross the picket line.

McNeill said the job action had little to no effect on university services.

“The disruptions have been so minor that most students on campus would not have noticed a difference, really,” said McNeill.

Garbe said that CUPE 116 wants their job action to have as little effect on students as possible, while still putting pressure on the UBC administration.

“One of the things that we’re trying to do is we’re trying to put as much pressure on the administrations without harming students, trying to stay away from student activities and classes and things like that,” said Garbe. “We just want to get a fair and reasonable collective agreement for our members. That includes job security and inflation protection.”

CUPE 116 members working at Pacific Spirit Place cafeteria in the SUB also walked off the job for 10 minutes to put on union T-shirts and buttons, as well as receive pamphlets about their job action to hand out to students.

McNeill said she was pleased that the job action in Pacific Spirit Place had little effect on students.

“I would say that for students who depend on those places to eat while they’re on campus, I’m very happy about that. We’re delighted, because it would be unfortunate if students were really affected by a labour dispute that concerns the employer UBC and Local 116,” said McNeill.

McNeil said the union has the right to take job action, but any progress would have to be made at the negotiating table.

“Job action is, of course, a right of the union, and we respect that as part of the collective bargaining process, but any progress is actually going to be made at the negotiating table. And we’re very eager to get back to the bargaining table as soon as CUPE 116 indicates that they’re willing to do that,” said McNeill.