The B.C. Labour Relations Board has ruled that Simon Fraser University did not bargain in good faith with a group of CUPE support staff workers.
The Labour Relations Board decision focuses on SFU’s attempts to tie contract talks with CUPE Local 3338 to efforts to fix problems with the university’s pension plan.
In November, the pension plan became a central issue in mediated discussions between the university and the union about reaching a new collective agreement.
CUPE Local 3338, which represents 1,000 workers in a range of fields, has been without a collective agreement for nearly three years.
During the negotiations with CUPE, SFU sought a commitment from the union to help resolve concerns about the financial sustainability of the pension plan.
However, a special committee of unions has told SFU that discussions about the pension plan will not take place until the university renews its collective agreements.
SFU cannot make changes to the pension plan without agreement from that committee, which represents CUPE and other unions involved with the plan.
In a written decision issued January 21, Labour Relations Board vice-chair Richard Longpre agreed with CUPE that the negotiations with SFU had reached an impasse.
“The university’s three offers addressed changes to the pension plan. CUPE cannot respond to such changes,” Longpre said in the decision.
Longpre concluded SFU had breached sections of the B.C. Labour Relations Code related to bargaining in good faith and striving to reach a collective agreement.