ConU Technical Staff Strikes for First Time in Its History

Admin Dragging Heels on Deal, Union Rep Says

Photos Pierre Chauvin

Not everyone was back to work as usual this past Wednesday, the second official day of the fall semester. Concordia’s downtown technical staff held a one-day strike to pressure the administration into addressing their demands for a new contract.

The United Steel Workers local 9538, the union covering Concordia’s plumbers, electricians, distributors, architects and mechanics, has been working under a contract that expired in 2008, and its members have not received a pay raise since 2007.

“This is the first time in the 35 years the union has been here that a strike has been held,” said Eddie Ginocchi, the vice-president of USW local 9538.

“The university is not negotiating in good faith.”
– Eddie Ginocchi

“[We struck today] because of the negotiations that have been going on for over two years. The university is not negotiating in good faith,” he said.

Workers will also be stepping up their tactics in the coming weeks to get the university’s attention, he said. Ginocchi was mum on most details regarding the pressure tactics, only saying that workers will be demonstrating outside every lunch hour and are expected to not wear their uniforms.

The university sent out a press release saying they had put a contingency plan into action to ensure that any effects from the strike would be minimal.

It does not appear that the strike ended up affecting the functioning of the university. “I’m not aware of any disruptions from the one-day strike,” said Chris Mota, director of media relations for Concordia.

Regarding the possibility of a longer-term strike if the administration does not meet the union’s demands, Ginocchi remained vague.

“Everything is possible,” he said. “I can’t tell you when and I can’t tell you how. It’s up to the university to make the next move.”

According to Mota, negotiations are ongoing, and the university is waiting to hear from a conciliator before setting a date for the next bargaining session.