WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 11, 2016) - Custodians, groundskeepers and tradespeople at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU), members of Local 926 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 926), are now on legal strike to defend good jobs and quality public services in Waterloo.
"We put forward what we still believe to be a fair and reasonable solution to settle this impasse, but WLU seems more interested in provoking a confrontation than with actually negotiating," said Allan Savard, President of CUPE 926.
"We apologize to any members of the WLU community for the inconvenience this will cause, but we have been forced into this action by an employer who refuses to take part in meaningful negotiations," he added.
The strike began this morning at 12:01 a.m., after WLU negotiators rejected a proposal by CUPE 926 to send all outstanding issues to a neutral third party for binding arbitration.
At the time of the offer, two issues remained outstanding - A proposal by WLU that would, if accepted, give the university near 'carte blanche' to contract out work, and proposals that would cut benefits for retired workers.
"Contracting out is bad for this campus and it's bad for Waterloo. Communities are supported by stable, secure jobs that pay living wages. Contracting out takes those sorts of jobs and turns them into precarious work paying poverty wages," said Savard.
The University has already contracted out custodial services to the former Global Innovation Exchange. The newly-named Lazaridis Hall is now serviced by low-paid, precariously-employed contractors.
Savard said the Union remains ready to bargain on short notice.
"I urge WLU to do the right thing and get back to the bargaining table to finish the work of negotiating a fair contract that all parties can live with," he said.