VANCOUVER, Feb. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - The presidents of the three largest
unions in the post-secondary sector - the Federation of Post Secondary
Educators (FPSE), the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
(BCGEU), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - have
united in opposition to the B.C. Liberal government's anti-democratic
amendments to the College and Institute Act and the University Act,
being debated in the legislature as part of Bill 18.
If passed in the spring sitting of the B.C. legislature, Bill 18 would
ban union activists from serving as elected employee representatives on
college and university boards of governance. The legislation would also
allow government appointees on these boards to remove an elected
employee or student representative from the board by a two thirds vote,
and prevent elected representatives from serving as board chair.
"This legislation, if passed, would infringe our members' constitutional
right to freedom of association," says FPSE president Cindy Oliver. "To
discriminate against an employee because they are active in their union
is punitive and anti-democratic, and we will challenge its legality if
"The government is being hypocritical if it tries to use
conflict-of-interest as a reason for this legislation," says BCGEU
president Darryl Walker. "They stack the Industry Training Authority
board with industry representatives, without apparent conflict. Union
activists would be no more in a conflict position than regular
employees who are union members."
"This legislation takes the unprecedented step of granting un-elected
board members the power to remove elected employee and student
representatives," says CUPE B.C. president Barry O'Neill. "It's like
allowing Cabinet to remove an MLA from their elected position. This
legislation fails the fairness test, by any measure."
Bill 18, the Advanced Education Statutes Amendment Act, includes
amendments to various post-secondary legislation, including the College
and Institute Act and the University Act. The bill was introduced in
the fall 2011 sitting of the legislature, but was not debated. It
remains on the order paper and is expected to be debated in the
legislature during this session.
SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Phillip Legg (FPSE) at 604-873-8988
Chris Bradshaw (BCGEU) at 604-291-9611
Clay Suddaby (CUPE) at 604-313-1138