Strike shutters CNC services

Unionized support staff held a strike outside the College of New Caledonia campus in Vanderhoof on Wednesday, Nov. 21

Unionized support staff held a strike outside the College of New Caledonia campus in Vanderhoof on Wednesday

An abrupt two-day strike by unionized support staff at campuses of the College of New Caledonia (CNC) left thousands of students without classes last week.

After failing to reach a collective agreement on a two-per-cent wage increase with the CNC earlier this month, the support staff, who belong to the CUPE Local 4951 labor union, decided suddenly to hold a strike.

“The college was unable to meet their money demands at that time and therefore talks broke off,” said Randall Heidt, director of communications and development for the CNC.

Lily Bachand, president of CUPE 4951, said the provincial government recently approved a two-per-cent wage increase for operational staff at universities across the province.

“The problem that we’re facing is that the government is treating post-secondary sectors differently, each one of them,” said Bachand.

“What we’re saying is just give us the two per cent.”

The strike, the first by CNC support staff since 1984, began on Tuesday and lasted until Wednesday evening when the the Post-Secondary Employers’ Association (PSEA) – the bargaining agent for all public colleges, special-purpose teaching universities and institutes in B.C. since Feb. 4, 2004 – released a statement saying they were ready to negotiate.

“We are prepared to come back to the table with a reasonable offer, but unions in this sector need to be willing to stretch if they want to meet the expectations of their members,” the PSEA said in the Nov. 21 statement.

“We encourage the union to consider avoiding any actions that may impact student learning.”

With some exams set to take place next month, the strike comes at a sensitive time for faculty and students.

“If we were to pick this time, we would have never have picked this item for that reason,” said Bachand.

“It’s an opportune time if you’re trying to prove a point, but it isn’t our intent to do it on the back of the students. But the provincial government has made it that way, so we have nowhere to go.”

Just Posted

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Community paramedic to teach free CPR lessons Sunday

Local event includes ambulance and fire truck tours, fire extinguisher lessons

Local runners get personal bests at Kelowna half marathon

Brian Nemethy on the dedication of one local runner

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read