STU downplays strike

If the St. Thomas University staff union strikes, students and faculty will not be affected much, said university spokesperson Jeffrey Carleton.

(Book Sadprasid/AQ)
(Book Sadprasid/AQ)

“In the event of any work stoppage, the university’s priority will be to see that students and faculty are able to continue their academic studies and their work – and that they have access to essential services.”

Last week, the St. Thomas University Staff and Administrative Union voted against the administration’s final offer in favour of a strike vote. If the university refuses to go back to the table, then the union will go on strike.

The support administration union includes office administration, facilities management, IT services, recruiters, academic advisors and resident supervisors. The union currently has 51 members. The union has been in negotiations for four years after becoming a certified union in 2010.

Carleton said the administration will meet with the union next week to discuss the next step.

“I am fairly confident saying that both sides feel that negotiated settlement is the best option for all concerned,” he said.

Carleton said the administration is prepared if the strike does occur.

“We do have a contingency plan that is quite detailed. We worked on it a fair bit before Christmas to lock it down,” he said. “It is nowhere near our focus, our priority or preference. Our focus is right now is on a negotiated settlement.”

Union president Jennifer Burry said there are six outstanding articles left including: job security, layoff, seniority, sick leave and monetary.

“Their final offer is not good enough for us to accept as a membership so we need to go back to the table and find out where it’s good enough for us to accept and good enough for the employer to accept,” she said.

“We expect them to come back to the table and we hope that they will. But if not, we need to again enforce that our membership believes these issues are worth taking job action,” she said.

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