UNBC cafeteria workers 'on the verge' of striking

Cafeteria workers at the University of Northern British Columbia are "on the verge of walking out," but will be restricting their pickets to certain spots on campus should they take that step.

Members of Unite Here Local 40 served 72 hours notice on Oct. 5 against Chartwells, which operates food services at UNBC, but have not yet acted on it and have agreed to restrict picket locations in the event of labour action, UNBC said in an online posting.

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Pickets would be limited to:

- The three outside entrances off the Agora Courtyard (the one near the dining hall, and the two sets of doors near the Canfor Winter Garden).

- The doors into the Canfor Winter Garden's upper level.

- The McCaffray Hall loading bay where picketers' intent would be to stop vehicles making deliveries to Chartwells but stand down for other vehicles.

"UNBC employees are expected to be at work as it is not necessary to cross a picket line," UNBC said. "The University expects classes to continue as per the normal schedule."

Octavian Cadabeschi, the local's research analyst, said negotiations are at a standstill.

He said the bargaining committee met last Wednesday with Chartwells "but the company gave us an offer where they refused any pay increases for two and a half years.

"Our members still do not have any job security, they could all lose their jobs if UNBC chooses a new food service contractor, and Chartwells' contract is up at the end of the school year."

In the event of job action, UNBC said Chartwells will continue to offer food services to those who use the meal plan but delivery will depend on the extent of the job action and may be reduced to limited times.

"UNBC will provide prorated reimbursement to people who pay for the meal plan. Again, this depends on the extent of disruption," UNBC said.

Catering will be provided for functions that have already booked services while Stackers Deli and Tim Horton's may be closed.

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