CUPE 4163 (Component 3) Announces Strike Vote

Some of you may have heard that Component 3 of CUPE local 4163 is taking a strike vote this week. The implications of this vote are reviewed later in this update.

Component 3 of CUPE 4163 represents sessional instructors and music performance instructors at UVic.

Collective Bargaining Update

Like the rest of the broader public sector in British Columbia, we are presently bargaining with our unions under the provincial government’s province-wide Sustainable Services Negotiations Mandate. Including our employees represented by the PEA and the UVic Faculty Association, two-thirds of unionized employees in the broader BC public sector are already covered by collective agreements negotiated under this mandate.

Negotiations with CUPE 951 and CUPE 4163 (Component 3) are presently underway at UVic. CUPE 917 and Components 1 and 2 of CUPE Local 4163 plan to start negotiations in the fall. Bargaining elsewhere in the research university sector is slow to start. Only two other CUPE locals in the province (UBC local 116 and UNBC local 3799) have settled with universities to date.

Given this context, we are continuing to bargain with Component 3 of CUPE 4163 – with a view to achieving an agreement that follows the provincially mandated wage pattern of 2% per year over a three year term. We have dates set to continue these discussions later in July.

Strike vote

As noted above, we have been advised that local CUPE local 4163 (Comp 3) will be taking a strike vote July 22-24. While strikes have been exceptionally rare at UVic, 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.

In the event the strike vote is successful and the unions provide UVic with a formal notice to act on it, we would then ask the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) to designate “essential services”.

For those of you who were here in 2012, you will recall my bulletins that explained that the law requires employers and unions to maintain certain essential services to the public when they take strike action in a labour dispute. The designation of essential services involves identifying the facilities and levels of staffing needed to prevent immediate and serious danger to the health, safety or the welfare of British Columbia residents.

The essential services designation process can take several weeks and first involves 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. If we need to move through this stage, many of you will be directly involved in this process.

Having said all this, we remain confident that the Sustainable Services Negotiations Mandate will provide a basis for a renewed collective agreement, just as it has done for more than 220,000 public sector employees who are covered by ratified and tentative agreements negotiated under the Mandate.

With that in mind, we are anticipating that there will be much collective bargaining at UVic through the next few months. While respecting the confidentiality protocols typical of collective bargaining at UVic, we will do our best to keep you informed of developments. Feel free to refer to the UVic bargaining website for updates and information.

If you have any questions about this bulletin, please contact your Human Resources Consultant.