Volume 94, Issue 46

Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Code goes back to drawing board

Stockwell pops into London

UWO caretaker strike averted - CUPE and administration finally agree

London North Centre race heating up

Auto break-ins on the rise, UPD warns

Campus Briefs

Moran outlines new buildings at Senate

Planet Me

UWO caretaker strike averted - CUPE and administration finally agree

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

A strike at Western was averted Friday after caretakers and skilled workers voted in favour of accepting administration's latest contract offer.

Rick Graham, union leader for the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 2361, said the union accepted the proposed contract by a substantial margin. Had the union voted against the deal they would have begun a strike action at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

The tentative agreement runs three years, retroactive to last July and ends 4 months of negotiation, he said, adding the sticking point of negotiations revolved around the issue of wages and salaries.

Despite the vote in favour of the agreement, Graham said his emotions were mixed as the contract had failed to meet all of the unions requests. "I'm relieved, but I can't say we're happy," he said. "[The union] got the best they could under the circumstances."

According to Graham, working conditions for the 260 caretakers, grounds keepers and other skilled workers are less than acceptable. "[This agreement] is a sign things aren't good at Western. The world's not good for us here at Western. There's more work, fewer of us to do the work and there have been no substantive pay increases."

David Estok, Western's director of communications and public affairs, said the university was happy an agreement had been reached. "We're really delighted the offer was accepted an a labour stoppage was avoided."

He said the offer was fair and reasonable, but added both sides had been forced to make compromises over the course of negotiations.

The tentative agreement must now go before the Board of Governors at their next meeting in November to be finalized, he explained.

Mario Morello, a caretaker, said he was happy a deal had been reached but still had reservations. "It's OK, but it's never good enough." He explained union members saw "shiny new buildings" and other improvements around campus and could not understand why they were not seeing financial gains.

He explained many were worried about providing for their families if a strike action occurred. "A lot of people have to think about their home and their family."

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