New agreement averts strike on campus
UNBC’s cafeteria workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have unanimously ratified a new agreement with the university’s food provider, Compass Group. Narrowly averting a strike, the new agreement ends the prolonged labour dispute at the university and addresses workers’ longstanding concerns over pay and job security.
Workers at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall and Tim Hortons will receive raises of $2/hour at minimum, additional bonus pay, while entry-level wages for new workers will increase substantially to better meet the cost of living in Prince George. The agreement establishes a new pension benefit for workers, significantly improves medical benefits and enshrines stronger anti-harassment and anti-discrimination standards to protect the rights of members engaged in union activity. Cafeteria workers also achieved a path to job security with the new agreement.
“We are very pleased that these issues could be resolved. We feel this agreement addresses our concerns and allows us to continue providing service to the students who rely on us,” said Jeannie Gilbert, a cook at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall.
The workers have engaged in numerous job actions since the contract expired in April 2017. After a year of little progress in bargaining, the workers issued a 72-hour strike notice earlier this month. Workers have received an outpouring of support from faculty, students, labour and community allies who petitioned the university and participated in demonstrations and other actions.
“We want to acknowledge the support we received from the university community, including students, staff and faculty. Without their support, we may not have been able to avoid a strike,” said Melody Danchuk, a long-term cafeteria worker and member of the union bargaining committee.
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