STU in strike standoff

STU-AerialLast night, members of the St. Thomas University Staff and Administration Union voted not to accept the administration’s final offer for a collective agreement.

If the administration does not agree to go back to the table with the union, then the staff union will take steps to organize a strike.

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

Burry said she thinks the administration will want to come back to the table, but they are ready to strike if necessary to get what they want.

“Their final offer is not good enough for us to accept as a membership so we need to go back to the table,” she said.

The support and administration union includes office administration, facilities management, IT services, recruiters, academic advisors and resident supervisors. The union currently has 51 members.

“We strongly believe that it’s in both parties’ best interest in going back to the table and negotiating a contract.”

Burry said the union is now waiting for a response from the employer if they will go back to the table. She said they expect to hear back early next week.

The last negotiations between administration and the union were on Dec. 18 and 19, in which Burry said they passed six articles. But they still have more work to do.

The union has been in negotiations for four years after becoming a certified union in 2010. Over the last year, the administration and the union have been at the table with a conciliator appointed by the Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour minister to get the agreement going.

“It’s our first time around and our first collective agreement. So we’ve never done this before,” said Burry.

“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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  • Show Comments (3)

  • johnson

    gezuz, not again! enough already!

  • elle

    With a child in this institution I have a great concern about post secondary strikes. What I can’t understand is why it has taken so many years to settle these articles! Really! If this institution expects its students to finalize projects, papers, PAYMENT etc, then they should set a better example. What would they think if we took that long to pay fees? Time for STU to pull up and straighten up and fix this up so that students won’t be stressed over it, they have enough to stress over as it is!

  • Sheryl

    While I understand the legalities of being in a strike position, I truly cannot understand why a union body and university would not resolve this prior to the start of semester. We’ve all paid our fees, purchased our text books, and have begun our classes. A strike could potentially mean no class, leaving us as students in the same position as UNBF students not so long ago. I, for one, cannot afford to lose the semester. I also cannot afford the financial nightmare this creates for students surviving on student loans. Perhaps the administration should have considered all of this BEFORE they accepted our tuition payments and fees. Perhaps they should have considered it prior to making students travel from away to get back here. Perhaps they should consider that most students will have serious funding problems related to student loans should the semester end up in the can. Perhaps they should consider the loss of salary of students due to graduate and have jobs lined up for when they are done. Perhaps they should consider that just informing the student body of this now does not allow us to make alternate arrangements for housing and expenses to not spend their student loan living allowance, etc. Perhaps they should have all come to an agreement BEFORE start date. Thank you for making the student life more stressful than it needs to be, as if there wasn’t enough on our plates to start with.

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