UBC Alma Mater Society staff set up picket line
Members of COPE Local 378 are picketing the north entrance of the Student Union Building at UBC's Point Grey campus until 4:30 p.m. today.
The union has announced the job action by security workers after mediation with the employer didn't get anywhere.
The picketing will not appear on the south side of the building, which will enable full access, according to the union.
The AMS represents more 48,000 UBC students and operates student services, student-owned businesses, resource groups, and clubs.
The student association hasn't posted financial statements on its website since the 2009–10 fiscal year. In that year, it reported nearly $14.6 million in revenue.
“The last time we came forward with proposed job action the AMS asked us back into mediation," COPE Local 378 communications representative Jarrah Hodge said in a statement. "We went back to the table in good faith but they haven’t moved on the key issues. These workers are still the lowest-paid security workers on campus by far."
The union claims that the AMS "has refused to confirm recall rights" if staff are laid off. In addition, the union alleges that management is putting forward a two-tier wage offer, which would result in new employees receiving less than existing workers.
AMS president Matt Parson told the Straight by phone that the association is "deeply disappointed" by the union's decision to take job action 131 days after the last strike vote. He maintained that the B.C. Labour Code requires strikes to occur within 90 days of a vote.
"One can interpret that as they may, and it's not my decision to determine whether it's an unlawful strike or not," Parson stated. "That's up to the Labour [Relations] Board to decide. As I interpret the Labour Code, it says you must have had a strike vote in the past 90 days for you to be able to hold a strike."
When asked if the AMS will file a complaint with the LRB, he replied that management is still determining what actions it will choose.
"We are very much are committed to finding an amicable resolution for our first collective agreement for the security department," Parson added.
He characterized the AMS as having made a "very generous offer with wages exceeding that of other comparable unionized security workers, like those of the Vancouver Art Gallery".
"We're going to continue to fight for a scheduling system that will allow us to continue to employ and schedule students," Parson said, adding that the wage offer "greatly surpassed" the provincial average increase of 0.67 for a first collective agreement. "Unfortunately, it has fallen well short of the union's demand of a 60 percent increase to their wages."
Parson did not reveal how much the security workers are paid, saying it falls within an unspecified range depending on experience and certification.
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