The cafeteria staff at St. Thomas University plan to get permission from the minister of labour to go to a strike vote this week.
This comes after 20 months of negotiations between the employees and their employer Aramark.
Jamie Pilling, vice-president of the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) of local 3372, says they have yet to make an agreement with Aramark and they don’t have many more options after being without a contract for so long.
“It is our intent at this time to [go to a strike vote] at our earliest possible convenience, though just because we do this does not mean a strike is imminent,” he said in an email.
Once they receive the go-ahead from Martine Coulombe, the minister of post-secondary education, labour and training, Pilling says the cafeteria staff has to wait seven days until they can vote. After that, they only have to give Aramark 24-hours notice that they are going on strike – and Aramark needs only wait the same amount of time to lock-out the employees.
According to Pilling, the cafeteria staff at STU is the lowest paid in the country and they are only trying to catch-up with everyone else.
“Something’s gotta give,” he said in a previous interview.
Pilling pointed out that the staff never wanted to go on strike. But if that’s what it comes down to, then they’ll do it.