News

Vancouver Island University students back to class for the time being as province asks CUPE to ‘stretch’

Eugene Harry (left) and Ryan Knowles use computer gear at VIU Thursday after CUPE’s two-day labour action halted classes on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. - Peter W. Rusland
Eugene Harry (left) and Ryan Knowles use computer gear at VIU Thursday after CUPE’s two-day labour action halted classes on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Get back to the bargaining table.

That was Wednesday’s message from provincial negotiators to the Canadian Union of Public Employees whose  members staged strike action Tuesday and Wednesday at VIU’s Cowichan campus, and at other island facilities.

B.C.’s Post-Secondary Employers’ Association boss, Anita Bleick, said PSEA’s ready to bargain with a “reasonable offer.” She urged CUPE to “stretch” its demand about wages and more, while Cowichan’s MLA advised both sides their fruitless talks have dragged on long enough.

“Obviously, you want to discourage any stakeholders from negotiating through the media,” Bill Routley said.

“I recommend the employer and union to get into a room and negotiate. Sit down and bargain in good faith and get the job done.”

VIU student Ryan Knowles backed Routley’s advice, supporting wage hikes for CUPE’s inside support workers.

“For the job they’re doing, they need the money to make their lives easier,” he said of CUPE’s four-year 0-0-2-2% wage boost recently pitched to PSEA. “But if they don’t get what they want, they should get back to bargaining.”

CUPE, whose Local 1858 covers members at Cowichan’s VIU campus, has been without a contract since 2010.

Meanwhile, Routley assured students contract deals are democracy in action, and are eventually settled.

“These things get sorted out. In a democratic society some things happen that inconvenience us,” he said.

“I’d rather not see any inconvenience, but as long as people are playing by the rules of fair labour negotiation, that’s always what it takes: people trying to reasonably negotiate a settlement.

“Nine times out of 10, they do,” he said.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Community Events, July 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Jul 30 edition online now. Browse the archives.