Cowichan News Leader

VIU and Victoria reach a tentative four-year deal during weekend talks

VIU Cowichan student Sydney Rabey and her classmates no long have to fear job action by VIU’s unionized support staff. - Peter W. Rusland/file
VIU Cowichan student Sydney Rabey and her classmates no long have to fear job action by VIU’s unionized support staff.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland/file

Students at Cowichan's Vancouver Island University campus can rest easy.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has informed VIU there will be no further job action after the union's inside support staff and Victoria struck a tentative four-year deal during the weekend.

"I'm not willing to comment on the details of the (contract) template at this time," said Deborah Hopper of CUPE's Local 1858.

"But it's a template for a number of institutions across B.C., and they will each take the template back to their institutions to finalize the local negotiations."

Local 1858 is booking dates with VIU brass to finalize its talks.

"We expect it will be done very quickly," she said, noting VIU can sign off on the final collective.

"Meantime, no further job action, and we'll release details once our negotiations are finalized."

The deal template will cover July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2014, and affect Local 1858's food services workers, clerical staff, facilities workers, and library staff.

"This is fabulous news," said Hopper. "We hope to take it to our members for ratification in the next couple of weeks."

She claimed CUPE's recent two-day strike — that closed Cowichan's campus and other facilities — helped prod B.C.'s Post-Secondary Employers' Association back to the bargaining table.

Anita Bleick, PSEA's CEO, explains in a release the tentative framework agreement was hammered out during three-days.

"The "significant milestone" involves compensation improvements for support staff in the colleges, institutes and teaching universities' sector.

"Unions will take this compensation framework back to their members and it will be voted on as part of a complete package once local talks finish," Bleick says, grateful CUPE and other unions were willing to talk, not walk.

Hopper thanked students for their patience.

VIU's Dan Hurley said the two days of lost classes have largely been made up recently in some extra class time.


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