By Patrick Szpak
Associate News Editor
Union reps and management are going head-to-head in collective bargaining after the successful unionization of Student Campus Centre (SCC) staff last year.
SCC staff joined the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) in February 2006. Forming a collective bargaining agreement is the next step in the unionization process mandated by the Ontario’s Labour Relations Board.
Unionized SCC workers could see improved benefits if collective bargaining ends in their favour. The union staff includes all workers in the SCC. Negotiations have been ongoing since December.
Louise Lichacz, president of OPSEU local 596, which Ryerson is a part of, said SCC staff would likely seek to change some unfair practices that lead to the successful union drive.
Lichacz said that she hopes that benefits — like health and dental in particular — will be changed as a result of the negotiations. “There’s no reason the benefits cannot be pro-rated based on how much people work,” said Lichacz. “They want equal pay for equal work,” said Lichacz, saying that part-time students working in the Ram in the Rye do not receive the same pay or benefits compared to full-time staff.
Lichacz also said that staff filed complaints concerning shift problems, with some staff being forced to work double shifts. SCC manager Rob Emerson would only say that he is extremely pleased with negotiations up to this point.
He said that both sides agreed early on what would be discussed. Emerson is unsure how much longer bargaining will continue.
Lichacz said that should negotiations fail, there could be a strike, with other unions on campus coming out in sympathy of the SCC staff. SCC union representatives declined to comment while negotiations with management are still underway.