CUPE challenges UBC to be a better employer

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - CUPE locals at UBC have issued some
challenges to the university in the wake of UBC's designation as one of the
best local employers in the Georgia Straight Readers' Choice awards.
    "CUPE represents thousands of workers at UBC and we would welcome an
opportunity to work with our employer to improve the quality of work life,
staff morale and labour relations," says Colleen Garbe, president of CUPE 116.
    Garbe says a key challenge is to improve infrastructure and the
environment on campus. "We have flagged for UBC the need to maintain
buildings, facilities and services, including sustainable, modern and
interactive learning opportunities for students. On environmental issues, UBC
could take leadership immediately by committing to protect the historic farm
and to provide more water fountains on campus," says Garbe.
    A second challenge is to have UBC live up to its TREK 2010 vision of a
civil and sustainable society that treats its employees respectfully and
equitably. Natalie Lisik, president of CUPE 2950, says that UBC staff need
better access to recreational facilities on campus and more flexible working
arrangements. "UBC could also offer more educational opportunities for staff,
and guarantee child care spaces not only for those who buy its condos, but
also for staff," says Lisik.
    Addressing health and safety issues is a third key challenge says Garbe.
"UBC is a complex organization. As we saw during last year's lockdown of
buildings during security threats - our members can face scary situations and
want to know that the employer has properly planned for CUPE members' safety
in these situations too."
    A fourth challenge is to find more positive ways of working together. "We
have many unresolved grievances, taking up valuable time, energy, and money.
Resolving these more quickly would mean a much healthier and happier
workplace." Garbe adds that there have been some difficult rounds of
bargaining, including strikes in 1999 and 2003.
    Lisik says that a fifth challenge is to improve UBC's ability to keep its
skilled and experienced workers and attract new ones. "Many positions have
remained vacant for more than a year, negatively affecting staff workload and
morale," says Lisik.
    CUPE locals 116, 2278 and 2950 represent about 6,600 staff that provide a
wide range of administrative, support, trades, technical and educational
services at UBC.

For further information:

For further information: Contact: Colleen Garbe, CUPE 116, (604)
222-0116; Natalie Lisik, CUPE 2950, (604) 822-1494; Roseanne Moran, CUPE
Communications, (604) 291-1940

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - BC Regional

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