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December 6, 2012

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Striking workers give SFU president 'final offer'

BURNABY—Support workers at Simon Fraser University have delivered a ‘final offer to settle’ to SFU president Andrew Petter. The 1,000 CUPE support workers have been without a contract for 2 ½ years and SFU is the only university in the province that has not negotiated in good faith to a new collective agreement.

Despite the union’s efforts, the university has repeatedly refused to negotiate with CUPE Local 3338.  The administration clings to the position that CUPE must somehow fix the ailing SFU Pension Plan ($64.5 million in the hole at last count) before it is willing to negotiate a collective agreement with its CUPE employees.

The SFU Pension Plan is a multi-party plan that could only be changed by all the players, including ASPA, Poly Party and CUPE.  Those players pulled out of pension talks last week saying they will only discuss the pension once they have negotiated collective agreements.  CUPE has repeatedly assured SFU that it will do everything it can to help the university out of its pension crisis - but only after collective bargaining has concluded and only with the other pension plan participants.

CUPE 3338 is seeking a contract in line with those reached at UBC, UNBC, Royal Roads, UVic and Thompson Rivers. CUPE locals at those universities negotiated four-year, no concessions deals with two per cent wage increases in each of the final two years. BC colleges have reached a similar tentative agreement at the provincial level that is now being finalized by CUPE locals at North Island College, Camosun, College of the Rockies, College of New Caledonia and Vancouver Island University.

CUPE has filed a bad faith bargaining complaint against SFU and a hearing has been set for Dec. 17-19 before the BC Labour Relations Board.  The local says it will now give the SFU administration time to study its offer to settle and will hold off on further strike/ job action until the new year.

CUPE 3338 members at SFU include clerical workers, computer operators, library assistants, technicians, lifeguards, financial aid advisors, building technologists, programmer analysts, buyers, stores clerks, information specialists, control clerks, department resource specialists, maintenance schedulers and programmers.



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