Last weekend, the Canadian Union of Public Employees successfully negotiated an agreement with the University of Guelph and avoided a strike or lockout by the university’s 2,500 teaching assistants and sessional lecturers. Not bad, right? Classes keep going, studies aren’t interrupted and everybody’s happy! Well, not everyone.
Follow this bouncing ball: Manuel Marques is the grievance co-ordinator for CUPE 3913. He’s an employee, in other words, of 3913. Manuel, however, is a unionized member of CUPE local 1281, and he’s been negotiating a new collective agreement of his own with his employer. Manuel is CUPE 3913’s only employee, but after six months of negotiations, 3913 and 1281 have been unable to come to an agreement. As a result, Manuel was locked out of the CUPE 3913 office as of February 16. Yes, a union on campus locked out it’s unionized employee.
For a reporter looking for good stories, you might obviously see the appeal, so I reached out to Manuel Marques and I invited him to appear on the Guelph Politicast to talk about his work for CUPE, the negotiations, and the lockout. We also talk about the paradox of such an unusual labour situation. Here we have a union locking out a union, and battling each other through the media (see the flyer above), which is usually a no-no when it comes to labour negotiations.
In addition, there is a follow-up piece to the story where I get the perspective of CUPE 3913, that’s available below once you listen to this week’s Guelph Politicast.
Read the follow-up interview with Ashley Wilson, President of CUPE 3913 here.
The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.
The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.
Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday’s episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.