Western still clean; caretakers to
By Anton Vidgen
Conciliation talks between Western's administration and the
Canadian Union of Public Employees local 2361 ended yesterday
with the union deciding to take an administration proposal
to its membership for a vote on Wed., Oct. 8.
"We are now going to await the outcome of the vote," said
David Estok, director of Western's department of communication
and public affairs, adding yesterday's discussions were productive.
The union, however, is still in a strike position as of Sun.,
Oct. 5, Estok said.
CUPE local 2361 represents approximately 250 caretakers, trades
people and arena workers at Western who have been without a
contract since Jun. 30.
Prior to yesterday's developments, Fred Blake, national staff
representative for CUPE in charge of local 2361, said a mediation
session had been scheduled for Tuesday with a mediator appointed
by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. "[Mediation] is usually
looked at as a last chance," Blake said on Monday.
"There's been no movement on the contracting out issue - and
that's still a huge barrier," Blake noted. "There has been
some movement on the issue of wages but not enough."
"The reality is that in any job, even if you make a million
dollars an hour, there's no guarantee they'll want you around
tomorrow," Blake said. "[They can] turn around and hire another
provider [but] we do it at a fair price."
"We'd like to see that they appreciate our services and that
we're in their plans for the future," Blake stated.
It is believed there has been enough consensus on these issues
for the union to decide to take the Western offer to its membership
The union, however, is still in a strike position. "We've
already had a strike vote and we have the mandate from our
members," Blake said.
If union members do not vote in favour of the new proposal
and if a strike occurs, students may find public transportation
unwilling to arrive on campus.
John Ford, director of planning services for the London Transit
Commission, said unions generally will not cross other union
lines out of respect. If Western's campus was similarly blocked
off by picket lines, bus operators would not cross.
Regardless of the outcome of the vote, Estok said the university
has to have a contingency plan if a strike were to occur. "We'd
ask other employees to keep open [and] operating in the case
of a disruption - we're not hoping to go there."
CUPE local 2361 was unable to be reached for further comment