Labour Relations: “Emergency” preparedness

Recently, research employees and out-of-scope employees in the College of Arts and Science received an email regarding contingency planning “in the event of an emergency or if relief work is needed during a CUPE 1975 strike.” The message requested recipients to complete a “confidential” skills inventory form itemizing their credentials or experience in the trades, information technology, retail, culinary, HVAC and mechanical systems.

When the USFA inquired about the email at JCMA, the Employer advised that the college messaging was inaccurate, indicating that central administration is updating its emergency planning database. We are skeptical of this explanation and believe the Employer is clearly preparing for a CUPE strike, as explicitly stated in the email.

Certain individuals who received the email are employees of the university and could, in the event of a strike, be temporarily redeployed or assigned other duties on campus. Any questions about the responsibilities researchers have to granting agencies where funds support research employees who received the skills inventory email should be directed to the granting agency. We will continue to seek information about how USFA members will be impacted by any redeployment of university employees, particularly research employees who are crucial to the work of many USFA members.

In the event of a strike by another bargaining unit on campus, the USFA encourages members not to take on the work of that bargaining unit.

The USFA encourages the U of S Administration and CUPE 1975 to continue to work towards a negotiated settlement.