The RSU’s message to CESAR students posted in the SCC. PHOTO: Jac kie Hong

RSU and CESAR lockout spat continues

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By Ethan Lou

The Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) is accusing the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) of not following procedure in its hiring of a new general manager.

The allegation comes amidst further disagreements between CESAR and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and a continued lockout of the latter’s workers.

“There wasn’t a hiring process,” said CESAR president Shinae Kim. “It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t transparent, it was an appointment.”

Kim said the RSU hired Michael Verticchio as general manager of the Student Campus Centre (SCC) in August without input from CESAR, which shares the building with RSU.

SCC hirings are done through its 11-member board, which comprises five RSU members, three from CESAR, two from the university and one from the student centre.

RSU president Melissa Palermo said a board meeting was held to hire Verticchio, and that CESAR representatives chose not to attend despite being invited.

“CESAR was personally asked to attend the meeting but, no one from CESAR attended,” said Palermo.

Kim said its representatives were unable to attend, due to work and long commutes, and had asked for the meeting to be rescheduled.

The RSU has cited rules that allow meetings to be held if a minimum of six people are present.

According to Kim, the meeting was eventually held with five RSU members and one university representative.

“[CESAR] didn’t provide any alternatives when scheduling the meeting,” said Palermo.

Meanwhile, CUPE Local 1281, which represents four job positions in CESAR – two filled and two unfilled – has rejected an offer from CESAR that could end the present lockout.

The lockout, which prevents those affected from working, was triggered Sept. 30 after weeks of unsuccessful negotiation on wage increases through a new collective agreement.

CESAR presented an offer to CUPE last Friday that would reinstate the two affected workers – a student affairs co-ordinator and an internal co-ordinator – but also redefine their roles.

The union’s chief steward, Shiraz Vally, said that it was worse than CESAR’s previous offer which would reinstate the two workers but eliminate one of the two unfilled positions.

According to documents provided by Kim, if the offer is accepted, disagreements on the redefined roles will be settled with arbitration and the two workers will receive a $1,000 signing bonus with no wage increase. The offer is still on the table, Kim said.

The lockout resulted in a suspension of CESAR members’ access to the discounted transit passes sold by the RSU starting Nov. 20, though this is disputed by Kim.

“The Member Service Office is operated by both RSU and CESAR,” she said. “[The] RSU can’t do that. Our staff are (still) going to serve the members.”

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