About 75 meals service staff on the College of New Brunswick in Fredericton have been issued layoff notices, in accordance with the union, which needs the administration and a brand new employer to make sure jobs are protected.
Adrienne Paradis, a nationwide CUPE consultant based mostly within the regional workplace for the Maritimes, stated the union came upon in November that UNB put out a request for proposals for the administration and operation of meals providers on the Saint John and Fredericton campuses.
She stated one thing did not look proper: the request for proposals did not embody something that may guarantee the following supplier would make use of the present meals service staff and maintain their union advantages.
“I assumed it was a mistake,” stated Paradis.
The employees are members of CUPE Native 2266.
Paradis stated she understood from meals service staff and former CUPE representatives these requests had a requirement to guard the employees throughout contract negotiations. UNB didn’t reply when requested to substantiate this by CBC Information.
The contract between Sodexo Canada, the present meals supplier at UNB Fredericton, and the college will finish Might 31. That is when the layoffs will go into impact, stated Paradis, if the workers usually are not rehired by the brand new supplier.
In response to a request for an interview, Sodexo stated it doesn’t touch upon ongoing contracts with shoppers.
Paradis stated employees have by no means obtained layoff notices up to now throughout contract adjustments, and when meals service suppliers modified it was a “seamless transition.” This is the reason, she stated, some staff have been working with the college meals providers for 40 years or extra.
Paradis stated the workers nonetheless have not been instructed if they are going to be taken on by the brand new firm.
Negotiations underway with new firm, UNB says
UNB didn’t comply with an interview with CBC Information, however in an emailed assertion, Heather Campbell, affiliate director of communications, stated the college is presently negotiating with an organization to take over meals providers.
“We acknowledge that transitions of any form could cause emotions of uncertainty,” stated Campbell. “As we negotiate with the chosen supplier, we acknowledge that the workers of all exterior events are the highest precedence for everybody.”
Simon Ouellette, a communications consultant with CUPE, stated the union despatched an e-mail to UNB president Paul Mazerolle requesting a gathering to debate the state of affairs on Dec. 6, earlier than any layoff notices had been issued.
“We despatched the request again in December to fulfill to say, like, ‘Can we work this out? Can we are able to we make a deal? , are you able to repair this new contract … Are you able to guarantee that when Compass Chartwells hires folks, that they prioritize they usually rehire the oldsters that have been there earlier than?”’ stated Ouellette.
Chartwells, a division of Compass Group Canada, is a meals service supplier based mostly in Ontario. In response to a query from CBC Information, UNB wouldn’t verify whether or not Chartwells has been chosen the brand new meals supplier for the college.
Chartwells has been offering the service at UNB Saint John.
College and employees ask college to intervene
The state of affairs additionally garnered consideration from employees and college students as phrase unfold throughout campus.
Matthew Sears, a professor of historic historical past at UNB Fredericton, wrote a letter to college administration that stated how “deeply disturbed” he was by the college’s therapy of the meals service staff.
The letter calls on the college to “intervene on this course of within the curiosity of our associates and colleagues who work in meals service at UNB.” It stated meals service staff have been saved at nighttime about contract negotiations with nothing in place to guard their jobs, wages and dealing circumstances.
Sears stated extra 150 college and employees have since put their help behind the letter.
He stated the state of affairs units a foul precedent in a unionized work surroundings.
“We have now a chance right here, I feel, to deal with our colleagues higher,” stated Sears. “And on the very least, a part of the negotiation must be that the brand new meals provider has to proceed on with the CUPE unionized contract and to maintain the present staff on as a part of its deal to get the contract.”
Sears stated the college contacted him after he despatched the letter. He met with Kathy Wilson, vice-president educational at UNB, on Tuesday morning.
Wilson defined that as a result of the meals service staff usually are not staff of UNB, he stated, there’s nothing the college can do to make sure their employment by way of the contract change.
He stated Wilson instructed him that the college is making an attempt to complete contract negotiations as shortly as attainable so the employees may presumably get issued new contracts from the chosen supplier.
Sears stated speaking with Wilson made it clear there are some inherent issues with outsourcing suppliers.
“The individuals who work for these non-public contractors can sort of be, , put to the facet only for procedural causes, and that does not sit properly with me, nor does the truth that they actually have not been given any updates or communication in any respect from the college,” he stated.
‘They’re household to us’
Sofia Erickson, a third-year UNB scholar, additionally wished to take motion after they heard from a good friend concerning the layoffs round every week in the past. They instantly went on-line and began circulating a petition.
Days later that petition has virtually 430 signatures. Erickson stated that help speaks volumes about how upset the neighborhood is.
They hope the petition will present administration that the meals service staff on campus are integral members of the neighborhood. Erickson stated many college students see the meals service staff on campus day-after-day and know no less than one by title.
“These staff who’ve, , spent massive parts of their lives at UNB with the scholars in our neighborhood — they’re household to us,” stated Erickson.