There’s a chance University of Victoria support staff will be picketing when classes begin in September.
The two unions, CUPEs 917 and 951 – which represent roughly 1,500 non-teaching jobs including tradespeople, food service staff, childcare workers, and office and library staff – have been bogged down by essential service discussions, said CUPE 917 president Doug Sprenger.
The two have been without contracts since March 31, 2010.
Mediation on essential discussions failed last month. For now, they’re looking at three days of hearing set for next week with the Labour Relations Board to determine what minimal staffing levels would be in the event that there is a strike.
“We think the board will agree in large part with CUPE that there doesn’t need to be a lot of jobs that are deemed essential, meaning there’s a go ahead for the unions to withdraw services,” he said. “Right now, that said, we have to wait for that decision from the board which would probably come late august or hopefully no later than the first week of September.”
If there are picket lines when students return, Sprenger says they will be limiting the disruptions in the classrooms as much as they can.
“We want them to understand in the event of picket lines, what the issues are for people who work here and provide services to students,” he said. “We want to provide maximum disruption to the administration but minimal disruption to students.”
The union and employer are disputing in areas including job security, benefits and inflation protection, according to CUPE.