Loyola Trade Workers Pass Mandate for Action

United Steelworkers Want to Bring University Back to Negotiation Table

Loyola Campus’ trade workers voted unanimously on Nov 27 in favor of a mandate to use pressure tactics on the university, including a strike if necessary.

The United Steelworkers Local 9538, who represent 32 trade employees at Concordia’s Loyola campus, feel like the 4-year-long negotiations have made little progress.

This mandate, they hoped, would change that.

“The university isn’t trying to negotiate—they’re trying to impose,” said Eddie Ginocchi, who represents the employees at both the Loyola and Sir George Williams campuses.

According to Ginocchi, the university is opting for an adjustment to wages which are half of the government’s policy on salary increases.

“[It’s] a slap in the face,” said Ginocchi. “They proposed a 0.75 per cent increase in 2011, while the senior administrator gets a 2.5 per cent increase. A quart of milk costs the same for everyone.”

The university may have problems replacing the slowly dwindling pool of trade employees as a result of their alleged position on raises. An average employee earns about $23 an hour while outside the university the wage is closer to $27/hour

In 2011, deadlock in negotiations with the university inspired a similar mandate to be passed by the Sir George Williams campus trade unions. The union then marched during their lunch hours and held a day-long strike.

These are strategies which Eddie Ginocchi says the Loyola workers are prepared to do as well.

The union and university are planning to negotiate on Jan. 11 but—according to Gnocchi—it was only after the university heard of the general assembly that they even acknowledged their negotiation invites.

However, Ginocchi isn’t optimistic.

“I don’t think the university cares,” he said. “We feel like we aren’t be treated like other university employees […] the trades need to be respected.”

The university declined to comment on any negotiations as a matter of policy.