Letter to the Editor – February 23, 2016

Re: Inspiring Lives? (Letter to the Editor Feb. 17):

The author erroneously conflates the prime minister statues project with current contract negotiations between the university and CUPE Local 926. In doing so, he puts forth unsubstantiated allegations that are not helpful in understanding the important issues in this round of collective bargaining.

The university has bargained in good faith with CUPE Local 926, which represents not only custodians, but also trades and grounds workers at both the Waterloo and Kitchener locations.

A key issue is the university’s desire to negotiate a different business model for custodial services going forward. As the university grows and changes, both in terms of physical space and resource prioritization, it must ensure it is making responsible choices about the cost and effectiveness of services that support the academic mission.

The university is seeking collective agreement language that CUPE has already agreed to at other universities. It would allow for the use of a third-party contractor for custodial services on the explicit understanding that employees, in any given job description, shall not be laid off as a result of contracting out. The university further assures that no trades or grounds positions will be lost as a result of contracting out.

The long-term service and commitment of our existing employees is greatly valued. As such, the university’s proposal is designed to be implemented on a go-forward basis and promises that no existing employees will lose their jobs as a result of contracting out.

It is vital in times of financial challenges that the university redeploy resources in a way that the academic experience is not diminished because of operational inefficiencies in support functions.

The university’s primary commitment is to its students and an exceptional academic and student-life experience. The university will make every effort to negotiate responsible agreements to ensure that avoidable operating costs are not transferred to the students or taken out of the classroom.

Kevin Crowley
Director: Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

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