Negotiations with CUPE 4163 (1 and 2)

Feb. 3, 2016

Negotiators with the University of Victoria and CUPE Locals 4163 (Components 1 and 2) are currently negotiating a new collective agreement. The two parties have been meeting since Feb. 2015.

Components 1 and 2 of CUPE 4163 bargain together and represent as many as 1,600 employees comprised of up to 1,400 teaching assistants, over 100 English language instructors and 80 community leaders, student-staff members who work in student residences.

We have been advised that local CUPE local 4163 (Comp 1 and 2) will be taking a strike vote Feb. 16 to 19.

It is not uncommon for a union to take a strike vote during the collective bargaining process in order to encourage employers to bargain to conclusion.  As mentioned, the parties have been bargaining regularly and have agreed to continue bargaining later this month.

We are committed to our bargaining principles of good faith bargaining, fiscal responsibility, respectful communication, promotion of mutual interests and recognition of our part in the broader community.

Like the rest of the broader public sector in British Columbia, we are presently in the very late stages of bargaining with our six unions on campus under the provincial government’s province-wide Economic Stability Mandate. In fact, over 90% of collective bargaining in the broader BC public sector has long since concluded—all with wage increases consistent with this mandate, including the vast majority of unions at research universities. Further, with the exception of Components 1 and 2 of CUPE Local 4163, UVic has successfully concluded bargaining under this mandate with all of our unions including:

  • CUPE 917
  • CUPE 951
  • CUPE 4163 (Component 3)
  • Professional Employees’ Association
  • Faculty Association

At the University of BC, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University, Royal Roads University and University of Northern BC, collective agreements have been reached with CUPE locals that provide for wage increases that follow the Economic Stability Mandate and are similar to UVic agreements with other staff unions. For example, our agreement with our Sessional Instructors, CUPE 4163 (Component 3), contains a typical distribution of guaranteed and variable wage increases over the agreed five-year term:

  • May 1, 2014 = 0%
  • May 1, 2015 = 1%
  • March 1, 2016 = 0% plus ESD;  May 1, 2016 = 0.5%; 
  • March 1, 2017 = 1% plus ESD;  May 1, 2017 = 0.5%; 
  • March 1, 2018 = 1% plus ESD;  May 1, 2018 = 0.5%;
  • March 1, 2019 = 1% plus ESD

The additional variable wage increase in the form of an Economic Stability Dividend (ESD) was negotiated with all unions and the 2016 ESD has been calculated to be 0.45%. Further, all collective agreements on campus (and generally the majority across the broader BC public sector) expired in 2014—hence the start date. University negotiators have not yet formally received a wage proposal from CUPE at the bargaining table.

Having said all this, we remain confident that the Economic Stability Mandate will provide a basis for a renewed and reasonable collective agreement, just as it has done for all of our other unions and employees on campus and the more than 250,000 public sector employees who are covered by ratified and tentative agreements negotiated under the Economic Stability Mandate.

As mentioned, we are continuing to bargain with Components 1 and 2 of CUPE 4163—with a view to achieving an agreement that follows a similar provincially mandated wage pattern, and a room and board model for the residence community leaders. We are scheduled to continue these discussions on Feb. 18, 19 and 23.