AUPE says cancellation of talks with support staff has angered members
EDMONTON – The University of Lethbridge could be heading for labour trouble on two fronts after bargaining with a second group of workers hit a snag.
The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) announced today that its members had voted in favour of strike action in pursuit of a new collective agreement and it had served strike notice.
Meanwhile, General Support Services workers at the university were told that bargaining for their new contract, which was scheduled for tomorrow (Tues., Fed. 8), was being cancelled. This is the second time in two weeks the employer has cancelled negotiations with short notice.
“The lack of respect shown by the employer to cancel at such short notice has frustrated and angered our members,” says Darren Graham, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represents about 500 university support workers.
“This is not the first time we’ve been treated this way, with numerous bargaining dates having been cancelled by the employer in the past. The university administration seems intent on treating its workers poorly, whether in faculty or in support services,” says Graham.
“That approach to bargaining explains why the university is facing labour unrest. The fact that ULFA was having a strike vote was not a surprise. We all knew it was coming. The result of that vote is no excuse to cancel our bargaining dates again.”
Morale among support workers at the university was already low, but this has made things worse.
Graham adds: “If the university thinks it can drive a wedge between different groups of workers by blaming the cancellation of our talks on the ULFA vote, it is very much mistaken. Support workers and faculty are part of a team that works hard to help students learn. They have solidarity.”
AUPE vice-president Darren Graham is available for comment.
For more information, please contact Terry Inigo-Jones, communications officer, at 403-831-4394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.