By Julianna Cummins
Community service groups are left feeling frustrated after a motion to investigate claims of the unfair treatment of part-time employees was not passed.
On March 10 the community service groups (CSGs) gave a presentation at a Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) board of directors meeting, citing concerns about overlooked seniority wage increases and other structural issues.
The motion to launch an investigation into these concerns, including the potential censoring of emails sent to the board of directors, was never voted on because the meeting lost quorum.
Members of the board left the meeting due to a disagreement over discussing staffing issues in a public forum because it violates privacy issues outlined in RSU’s collective agreement.
“Board members need to put their personal, political agendas aside and stand up for what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Jesse Trautmann, coordinator of RyePRIDE.
Rebecca Rose, vice-president education said that the RSU has already met with CSGs and that seniority increases will be added to employees’ next paycheque.
“It was a single-year oversight,” said Rose of the wage increase concerns.
Trautmann said he appreciates that the RSU has made moves to address their wage concerns, but there are other problems that still need to be addressed.
Trautmann said he emailed a letter that outlined the concerns of the CSGs to CUPE 1281, the local that represents full-time employees of the RSU, on Feb. 26.
While CUPE 1281 does not represent the CSG employees, the organization still advocates for working student rights, said Trautmann.
However, CUPE 1281 never responded to the letter.
“Not even a ‘we got your letter’ kind of thing. Absolutely nothing,” said Trautmann.
“It could be because of a specific conflict of interest that is specific to the RSU and us,” said Trautmann of the local’s lack of response.
Trautmann is referring to Denise Hammond, the outreach and communications coordinator of the RSU. Hammond is the president of CUPE 1281 and oversees the working environment of the RSU.
Hammond has been on stress leave for the past week, and CUPE 1281 could not be reached for comment.
Rose said concerns about conflicts of interest have not been part of the conversations between the RSU and the CSGs.
“It’s different from the actual issues here,” said Rose.
Trautmann said that issues aside from wages, such as employees not expressing concerns in fear of losing their jobs, must be investigated so that similar problems can be avoided in the future.
“I know what’s going to happen next year is that they (the RSU) are just going to wipe the slate clean because they have the power to,” said Trautmann.