Sisters and Brothers,
Over the past few days it has become apparent that another union on Campus, SEIU, is likely to be forced out to the picket lines very soon. Members of SEIU, Service Employees International Union, at McMaster perform several different tasks such as, custodial work, mail delivery, trades work, and more.
University administration has shocked SEIU by demanding a number of concessions relating to benefits, wages, vacation time, and reduction of staff. SEIU members voted almost unanimously when asked to take part in a strike mandate vote. Their membership is solidly behind the SEIU bargaining team. Expect an update in the coming days regarding specific issues related to SEIU bargaining.
Given the stance that the University Administration has taken during these negotiations, as well as during recent negotiations with CUPE, your executive members voted unanimously to stand behind SEIU during their work stoppage. CUPE 3906 support of the SEIU strike will include, but not be limited to, providing organizational support. We are prepared to offer additional assistance depending on the needs of SEIU.
In the event of a strike or lockout, we would also like to remind all members of the contents of Article 9.03 of the Unit 1 Collective Agreement (8.03 for Unit 2) which states that members of CUPE cannot be expected to perform the work normally done by workers on the picket lines. These requests may come in subtle ways, so to be clear, you cannot be expected to clean up in your classrooms or deliver mail between departments. Your supervisors will have been informed of this fact.
As mentioned already, we will continue to provide you with updates regarding SEIU, on-going negotiations, the likely work-stoppage, and what you can do as a CUPE members to assist SEIU if you so choose. Regardless of the direction that negotiations take over the coming days, CUPE 3906 has made the decision to stand behind our Sisters and Brothers at SEIU as they work toward a fair and equitable collective agreement for all of their members.
Your CUPE 3906 Executive Committee