A strike by hundreds support workers at Capilano University has resulted in cancellation of classes at the North Vancouver and Sunshine Coast campuses, Tuesday.
MoveUp Local 378 members, who include those working in IT, some administration, and maintenance among others, began a full strike Tuesday morning, setting up pickets as of 7:30 a.m.
Members of the Capilano Faculty Association, which represents teaching staff, have refused to cross the picket lines. As a result, classes have been cancelled, according to Capilano University.
Convocation ceremonies taking place June 7-9 will go ahead as planned, the university added.
The strike by support workers comes after three weeks of more limited job action, including an overtime ban.
Both the union and the university say the sole sticking point in the labour dispute is whether to include language about remote work in the union's contract.
The university and workers represented by MoveUp have already reached an agreement on wages and benefits, including a 12 to 13 per cent wage increase over a three-year term and a new $300 "wellness’" benefit amount for regular employees.
The two sides have even agreed on wording about working from home.
According to the university, CapU was one of the first post-secondary institutions to develop a hybrid work program in 2021 and has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing this program.
But the union wants that wording to be put into the contract, which would allow workers to file formal grievances if they disagree with decisions of managers.
In a press statement, union vice-president Christy Slusarenko described remote work as an “equity issue.”
The university said the contract language proposed by the union is “inconsistent” with agreements reached at other universities and “has the potential to compromise service delivery at the university.”
CapU student Layne North – a former student representative on the university’s board of governors and former student union member – said he heard about the strike through an email from a professor, who indicated in a gesture of solidarity, they wouldn’t be answering student emails.
North said he’s disappointed in the decision by faculty members not to communicate with students during the strike.
Most students he’s talked to are just hoping the strike will be over soon, he added.
Striking workers represent between one quarter and one third of all workers at Capilano University, which is one of North Vancouver’s largest employers.
The strike Tuesday comes after agreements covering over 2,000 support staff at five other post-secondary institutions, including Camosun College, Vancouver Island University, North Island College, College of New Caledonia and College of the Rockies were ratified.