Leslie Dyck

College reopens after job action

North Island College classes restart after CUPE job action.

  • Nov. 29, 2012 8:00 a.m.

Renee Andor

Black Press

Classes were cancelled for North Island College students last Tuesday and Wednesday as college CUPE workers walked off the job and set up picket lines in front of all campuses.

According to NIC, the North Island College Faculty Association (NICFA) said it would respect these picket lines as CUPE 3479 members tried to grab the Province’s attention during the two-day strike.

“What we are looking for is a wage increase equal to the settlements that all of the public sector locals that have currently settled this term have received,” CUPE 3479 president Michelle Waite said Monday, adding the union wants a four-per-cent pay hike over two years, noting a similar increase in the B.C. Government Employees’ Union Master Agreement signed earlier this fall.

The two day strike was aimed to reflect the two years that CUPE college support workers have been without a contract.

She blames the Province’s 2012 Cooperative Gains Mandate because she said it’s keeping a possible wage increase off the table completely during bargaining.

“Our biggest issue is our employers’ inability to negotiate wages with us because the government hasn’t allowed them,” she added.

“And so that’s where we’re stuck — our fight isn’t with our employer (North Island College) right now; our fight is with the government.”

NIC spokesperson Susan Auchterlonie said the college — and its bargaining agent the Post-Secondary Employers’ Association (PSEA) — must abide by the mandate from the Province.

She added the college has a “very good relationship” with its CUPE staff and has been expressing its “frustration” with the situation to the PSEA and the Ministry of Advanced Education.

Overall, Auchterlonie stressed NIC is just hoping things will be resolved soon; the semester wraps up with the last day of classes Dec. 7 and exams are set to begin right after, so the lost instructional days are coming at a somewhat critical point in the year.

“We’re just really hopeful we can get this resolved quickly,” said Auchterlonie. “We don’t want to have any further disruption for our students.”

Waite said CUPE 3479 will assess the situation before deciding on any further strike activity.

Union members at NIC voted 86 per cent in favour of strike action last week and followed up with strike notice to the Labour Relations Board.

CUPE represents approximately 3,000 college support workers across B.C., with the local 3479 having around 170 members.

CUPE support workers at B.C.’s community colleges have been without a contract since 2010, but Waite pointed out CUPE chose not to sign a collective agreement during the 2010 to 2012 term when the Province’s net zero mandate was in place as other public sector unions did.

Waite said she hopes for some response from the Province soon, as CUPE members don’t want to hinder student learning.

“The last thing we want to do is impact students,” she said. “All of us there love our work because most of us deal with students — and this is a last resort.”

 

With files from Gazette staff.

 

 

Just Posted

Survey says: Port Hardy Fire Rescue deserves on-call pay

75 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of financial compensation for the fire department.

VIDEO: Incredible waves spotted at Cape Scott

Lighthouse keeper captures video of huricane force winds

Tyson’s Thoughts: Make Port Hardy great again with a new multiplex in 2018

Population growth means there should be more recreational activities for community members to enjoy.

VIDEO: Stormy weather at Storey’s Beach

Envirnoment Canada has issued a wind warning for Coastal British Columbia

RDMW pens letter asking Pacific Coastal to reconsider cancellations

Board raises concerns over loss of flights to the region

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Kervin’s Corner: Our region’s communities heavily rely on the forestry sector — Let’s not change that for now

“Any transition out of our forest-based economy would take years along with careful planning…”

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Most Read