Fifteen unionized employees remain locked out by the Simon Fraser Student Society nearly three months after the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3338 rejected a contract that included $10 per hour wage cuts in July.
The student union’s latest offer on Sept. 1 included no wage cuts for current employees and a reduction in full-time staff by attrition only. Instead of cutting wages and employees, the offer would have allowed for a gradual reduction in the number of full-time positions and the SFSS would have been able to hire students at starting wages of $13 per hour instead for future positions.
The union says that would create a two-tired system. Richard Overgaard, a CUPE national communications representative, told The Ubyssey student newspaper at UBC that the union won’t counter the offer until the SFSS ends the lockout.
Services that are unavailable due to the lockout include the copy centre, the Women’s Centre and the LGBTQ support centre.
The SFSS maintains that a $30.48 average hourly wage for 15 full-time staff is unsustainable in light of its $800,000 deficit. The average hourly wage for all Canadians aged 25 to 54 in August was $24.71, according to Statistics Canada. CUPE says that its members are not overpaid.