Bulletin #4- July 20, 2012
Strike notice and essential services update
This update is further to the June 25 Bargaining Bulletin where I reported that CUPE locals 951 and 917 served the university with strike notice. Since that time, the university and the unions have been engaged in a process under the supervision of the Labour Relations Board to designate “essential services”. The law requires employers and unions to maintain certain essential services when unions take job action in a labour dispute.
Designation of essential services involves identifying the facilities and levels of service needed to prevent immediate and serious danger to the public. When the Labour Relations Board (LRB) designates a service as essential, the employer is required to provide that service, and the union is required to allow its members to perform the service in the event of a strike or other job action.
The essential services designation process first involves local discussions between the university and its unions, and then if necessary, the assistance of the LRB to mediate or adjudicate essential services and staffing levels. Friday July 20 was the last scheduled day for mediation. While some progress has been made at both the local negotiation and mediation stages, a small number of issues are scheduled to be adjudicated by the Labour Relations Board on August 21, 22 and 24 (if necessary).
Once essential services are formally designated by the Labour Relations Board, the unions may initiate job action any time following the provision of an additional 48 hours’ notice.
Next steps and the impact on campus operations
It’s important to note that serving strike notice does not mean a strike is inevitable at UVic. It is a relatively common tactic in negotiations and a legal requirement if a union wants to reserve the right to use some form of job action in a dispute, whether a full strike or other types of withdrawal of service such as rotating strikes, work-to-rule campaigns or overtime bans.
It continues to be the university’s desire to reach a negotiated settlement at the earliest possible opportunity. We remain hopeful that this can be achieved without a major disruption.
As the situation is dynamic, however, we will keep our community updated of any developments, the university’s plans, and any anticipated impact on services and programs. University units will be provided with advice and assistance in planning for and dealing with possible job action and supplied with information that can be shared with faculty, librarians, students and staff.
University administrators with any questions about this bulletin should feel free to contact their Human Resources Consultant.
Associate Vice President
University of Victoria
PO Box 1700 STN CSC Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2
phone: (250) 721-8031
fax: (250) 721-8094