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Mediated contract talks now underway between VIU and CUPE union support staff

Users of Cowichan
Users of Cowichan's new Vancouver Island University campus are hopeful it won't be behind pickets barely a year into its mandate.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

VIU brass and its union agents for support staff started mediated contract talks this week to sidestep strike action that could close the Cowichan campus and VIU's other island facilities.

Vancouver Island University and the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1838 have agreed to move to mediation as the next step in the collective bargaining process, VIU said Friday in a statement.

"The parties will meet with a private mediator during the next few days with the goal of achieving a renewed collective agreement," the release reads.

CUPE Local 1838 represents nearly 30 Cowichan campus workers among 300 island employees, including food services workers, clerical staff, facilities workers and library staff at VIU's five campuses.

CUPE workers voted 86% in favour of a strike mandate recently, but haven't served strike notice after working without a contract for some two years.

"VIU and CUPE are committed to reaching a fair, negotiated settlement that is fair to all of our employees, while also respecting the current fiscal challenges and realities.

" We also agree our first priority is our students, and we will continue to work together to come to agreement without any disruption to our students," VIU brass says.

Updates will be posted to the VIU website at viu.ca/labourupdate, the CUPE website at cupe1858.org, and on Twitter at @VIUNews.

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