By Farnia Fekri
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1281 released a statement on Wednesday, addressing the recent restructuring of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) which resulted in the RSU laying off two employees.
The statement, which they posted on their Facebook page, urged readers to contact RSU President Andrea Bartlett in protest of the move, and used the hashtag #IStandWithGilary.
Bartlett responded that CUPE’s statement is “inflammatory and misleading.”
The elimination of the Executive Director of Outreach and Communications (EDCO) was based on an independent review that can be seen online, she said in an email to The Eyeopener, and “had nothing to do with the employees who held the role.”
“Bartlett is now attacking a woman’s legal right to take approved pregnancy leave without fear of termination,” CUPE said in the letter, going on to add that the restructuring merely shifts the job roles of the previous EDCO (now eliminated) to the newly created General Manager position.
“We are not going to let members be attacked like this,” says CUPE 1281 president Shiraz Valley in the statement.
Bartlett said the RSU is in the process of facilitating a new role for the employee within the Ryerson community
Despite CUPE 1281’s earlier tone of cooperation and openness when the General Manager position was first announced, the letter is explicit in its criticism of the RSU, going as far as calling RSU executives “bad employers” with a “hostile” tone towards their own workers and CUPE representatives.
Bartlett called CUPE’s statement addressing confidential employee matters both unions are bound by irresponsible.
The reason CUPE isn’t using “normal, legal channels,” she said, is because their “inflammatory allegations serve their purposes more than the grievance procedure to which both parties have agreed, and are bound.”